Iceberg forces route change in Volvo Ocean Race

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A 1-km-wide iceberg that is drifting straight into the path of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet in the Southern Ocean forced organizers to make an unscheduled change to the route of the fifth leg.

The six raceboats had already been delayed for three days in Auckland, New Zealand, before they set off for Itajai in Brazil because of Cyclone Pam.

The deadly weather system has claimed several lives in the southern Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu. Race management did not want to risk the $30 million fleet sailing nearby.

After the boats finally set off on the 6,776-nautical-mile stage on Wednesday, a huge iceberg was spotted within 48 hours via satellite pictures, according to a Reuters report.

Organizers have imposed ice limits that will force the boats to sail clear of the berg's path. Crews will be penalized if they sail over those boundaries toward hazardous areas.

Organizers bumped up the likely arrival time in Itajai from April 7 to April 4 after the boats made surprisingly rapid progress through the first 1,000 nautical miles of the stage.

The boats have been cruising through the South Pacific and out into the Southern Ocean at a consistent 20 knots, thanks to the effects of the aftermath of Cyclone Pam.

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