Capital Gives Berth to Round-the-world Sailors

9 January 2009

Wellington is set to play host to some of the hardiest sailors in the world - the competitors in the inaugural Portimao Global Ocean Race - who are expected to reach our shores by Saturday 17 January.

Taking in some of the world's roughest seas, the gruelling competition began in October with six yachts setting off for Cape Town from Portimão, Portugal.

However, the competition was reduced to five yachts when Dutch solo competitor Nico Budel was forced to abandon ship after being pounded by a violent storm in the southern Indian Ocean during the second leg to Wellington.

The five remaining yachts are set to reach the Capital either on Friday 16 or Saturday 17 January. It will be a welcome reprieve for the sailors, who have been relentlessly pummelled by the 'furious fifties' winds of the Southern Ocean that would make Wellington's strongest gusts seem like mere zephyrs.

Their sleek single- and double-hulled vessels will be docked outside Shed 6 on Queens Wharf for several weeks so they can undergo repairs, and the sailors enjoy some much-needed R&R. The yachts will set off for the third leg to Ilhabela, Brazil, on Sunday 22 February.

The Portimão Global Ocean Race is proudly supported by Wellington City Council.