Perfect conditions saw the Spanish yacht Camper head the fleet at the start of the Volvo round the world race from Alicante to Cape Town. Crown Prince Felipe shared the send off duties with Zinedine Zidane.
After 50 miles it was the other Spanish entry, Telefonica, skippered by Olympic gold medallist Iker Martinez, holding a slight lead over Puma as Chris Nicholson’s Camper had slipped to equal fourth with Abu Dhabi, skippered by British Olympic double silver medallist Ian Walker.
Third rounding Cabo de Paloa was France’s Franck Cammas in Groupama. Bringing up the tail was the Chinese entry Sanya, skippered by 2004-05 winner Mike Sanderson of New Zealand.
The first 48 hours of the 6,500-mile leg were expected to see increasingly strong winds as the boats raced to the Straits of Gibraltar and the release south into the Atlantic.
First argy-bargy was when Cammas, manoeuvering for advantage on the start line, clipped the stern of Puma. He took a penalty turn.