While sailing off the coast of the Western Sahara, several Volvo Ocean 65s noticed a rubber boat speeding towards Spanish crew MAPFRE.
Initial fears of a pirate attack were allayed, when it turned out it was a Spanish Army Patrol boat coming to wish them luck.
It is known as the toughest sailing race in the world. The Volvo Ocean Race begins tomorrow - and for the first time in 12 years an all-female crew will compete for the title. The sailors - many of whom are from the south coast - are currently preparing for the race start at the Spanish port of Alicante, from where Sally Simmonds reports.
The Volvo Ocean Race leaves Alicante this weekend. We will have a full package later - this is a preview.
In fifty days time the first all female crew for 12 years will set sail in the Volvo Ocean Race. Only three of them have competed in the event before. But what they lack in experience, they make up for in team spirit - having trained together longer than anyone else. Sally Simmonds joined them on a race around the Isle of Wight.
Video of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland fleet setting off from Cowes this morning and racing up the Channel. Interviews with Dee Caffari from Team SCA and Ian Walker from Team Abu Dhabi - both Hampshire sailors taking part in this event and the Volvo Ocean Race in October
You can follow the progress of the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland race fleet on the organiser's race tracker here
The flotilla of 28 yachts are now heading east along the south coast after departing the Solent this morning . The 1,800 mile race around Britain and Ireland set off from the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes with a stiff southwesterly wind and a good tide, allowing the yachts to fly their spinnakers.
At 1130 the fleet past Selsey Bill, with over 30 knots of breeze. Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, has averaged 30 knots of boat speed since the start and is on course to finish the race in two and a half days, smashing the course record, if these conditions prevail.
Five Volvo 65s are taking part in the event - the first time the teams have raced against each other ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race which starts in October. They screamed through the start line with Team SCA, skippered by Sam Davies, getting the best start. Team Dongfeng, skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, was just in the lead at 1100am. Three teams have taken the lead in the Volvo 65 class in the first two hours, a pattern that may well continue right through the race.
For SCA’s all-female team, this second long offshore passage comes just a week after arriving in Newport.
Team SCA will be sailing with eleven crew onboard the boat, including navigator trialist Libby Greenhalgh (GBR) as well as Anna-Lena Elled (SWE), a new trialist Onboard Reporter. This is the same number of crew that will be allowed to be onboard during the race itself.
The team started from Fort Adams, Newport, and is due to arrive into Puerto Calero, Lanzarote on May 28, 2014. The team will sail to a waypoint near Lisbon, replicating the course for Leg Seven of the Volvo Ocean Race, and then immediately on to the team’s base in Lanzarote.
One of the South's top sailors is hoping it will be third time lucky in one of the world's toughest ocean races. Hampshire's Ian Walker does not have the best of records in the Volvo Ocean Race. But he does have a new boat... Sally Simmonds joined his crew on the Solent.
The interviewees are: Ian Walker, Skipper, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing; Justin Slattery, Bowman; Simon Fisher, Navigator.
She is one of the most experienced offshore sailors in the world and yet Dee Caffari from Titchfield, in Hampshire, has been fighting for a place on the crew of the all-female boat in the round the world Volvo ocean race.
Competition to join the team SCA is fierce. Sally Simmonds reports from their training base in Lanzarote.