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The Furious Fifties

Mar 26, 2018
Volvo race boat Brunel blasting along in the Furious Fifties.

Volvo race boat Brunel blasting along in the Furious Fifties.

Courtesy Yann Riou/Volvo Ocean Race

One fascinating aspect to Volvo Ocean Race boats carrying photo drones is the chance to see the boats performing in the intense conditions of the Southern Ocean. It's one thing to see the maelstrom of wind and wave from the deck of a boat, but to see it from above shows not only the enormous stresses on these boats for hour after hour, but also the emptiness of the surrounding sea. Not much chance of seeing commercial vessels or recreational boats deep in the Southern Ocean. It's the lonely realm of the albatross, the iceberg, and around the world racing sailors!  

This drone shot from 24 March, 2018, shows the race boat Brunel on leg 7 from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil, at 51 South. Brunel has three reefs in the main in 35 to 38 knots of wind and was hitting top speeds of 36.1 knots. Even in those energetic winds, the crew was able to grab this shot and then get the drone safely back onboard. 

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