The threat of pirate attacks on the competing boats in the next Volvo round the world race has been relegated to the back burner as the route for the next race starting from Alicante on 4 October next year is announced.
Eight boats, all built to the new 65-foot design, are expected to leave Alicante, Spain, for a new first stopover in Recife, Brazil before setting out on what is the longest leg, around South Africa and up to Abu Dhabi, a distance of nearly 10,000 miles.
In the last race, the leg from Cape Town was cut short at Malé, in the Maldives, from where the boats were shipped to Sharjah to avoid attack as they entered the Strait of Hormuz.
A similar move could still be made, and also on the third leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China, if the pirate threat is high at the time. But, as pirate activity has declined, any decision on that has been postponed.
The race then takes the competitors to Auckland, New Zealand, round Cape Horn to Itajai, also in Brazil and a stopover last time, up to Newport, Rhode Island, across the Atlantic to Lisbon, then north to Lorient and finally around the British Isles to the finish in Gothenberg in June 2014.