A few weeks back, Gadling Labs took a wander around Team Abu Dhabi’s VO70 ocean racer and one thing was apparent: weight is key. Non essential components are stripped from the ship, appointments are minimal and everything that can be made out of lightweight composite is incorporated — even the steering wheel.
Four hours into the race, the team learned a drawback to composite materials: when they fail, it’s usually catastrophic. Luckily, nobody on the boat was injured and there was a backup mast in Valencia. After a few days in port, the team briefly set out for Cape Town, but decided to withdraw in order to prepare for the next leg.
In the meantime, the four remaining teams are still headed towards the Cape of Good Hope. You can follow the race around the world for the next nine months at VolvoOceanRace.com.