A quick look back in pictures and video at a brutal start to Leg 5 in the Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race crews always knew Leg 5 was going to be the
toughest, but they hardly expected they would be entering the nautical
equivalent of Mordor.

LOOK: Sanya skipper Mike
Sanderson’s expression suggests he knows what’s in store as he says goodbye to
his son in Auckland.

The forecast storm showed up on time off the coast of New
Zealand and subjected the fleet to what many consider the toughest 48-hour start to a leg they can

BIG DECISION: Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker consults
his crew before suspending racing at the start of Leg 5.

A brutal opening night saw crews battling against 37knot
winds and six metre seas and it wasn’t long before the seas claimed their first
boat and human victims.

VIDEO: EARLY RETURN Just a few hours
into Leg 5 and the brutal conditions take an early toll.

Crewman Rob Salthouse applies resin to repair a damaged bulkhead on board

Just six hours and 40 miles into the leg Abu Dhabi were
forced back into Auckland harbour after suffering damage to its J4 bulkhead
after a heavy landing, and did not rejoin the race until

Jonathan Swain consult the team doctor after setting Thomas Johanson’s
dislocated shoulder on board Puma.

Skipper Ian Walker stressed the damage was not structurally
threatening and his decision to put back in was based on the ethos that repairs
could be carried out quickly, leaving them plenty of time to play catch-up.

Puma skipper Ken Read summed up the feeling at the start of
the leg as he confessed his top priority was keeping the boat and the crew in
one piece.

Mike Pammenter and Andy McLean peer over the stern on board Puma, watching the
fleet in the background.

Despite his efforts, there were casualties, with new Trimmer
Thomas Johanson dislocating his shoulder, and bowman Casey Smith bunk-bound with
a back injury.

Read said: “It’s certainly the toughest 24 hours I can
remember for the last four editions of this race.

Telefonica skipper Iker Martinez scans the horizon for competitors

“I feel like I’ve gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson.”

SHOWER: Telefonica’s crew suffer a soaking on a rough opening to Leg 5.

But after a brutal 48 hours, the fleet entered the calm
after the storm, with a ridge of high pressure providing light winds which
reduced the fleet to a crawl.

through a brutal opening to Leg 5, lighter winds allow the crews to assess
damage and make repairs.

COLD SHOULDER: Temperatures
start to drop as Puma ploughs into the Southern Ocean

The leading quartet – Telefonica, Groupama, Puma and Sanya -
could have been covered by a mainsail, as they bunched up, allowing Camper and
Abu Dhabi to catch up.

Martin Kirketerp almost disappears under a wall of water while grinding on

The calm also allowed crews to make running repairs -
Sanya to the communcations system
and water maker, Camper to some cracks and delamination in the forward bulkhead
– ever mindful of the fact that as the fleet heads into the Southern Ocean on
the longest leg of the race, temperatures will drop and they will presented
with the prospect of another peril – icebergs.