FOR A nation grappling with the aftermath of the carnage in Mumbai, the second leg of the around the world Volvo Ocean Race comes as a diversion. One of the most expensive events in the world, this is the first time the race is calling on an Indian port.
In view of the recent developments in Mumbai, there was speculation that the race would skip Kochi but the organisers, Volvo, stuck to the original route. To ensure an incident-free race, a strong security ring has been thrown around the race village.
Speedboats have been deployed on the waterfronts enveloping the city and CCTVs have installed at vantage points. The Southern Naval Command, headquartered in Kochi, and the Coast Guard are also maintaining strict vigil.
The event is expected to attract well-heeled sailing connoisseurs from all over the world and will be beamed to 1.8 billion people across 180 countries. For the record, team Telefonica and six other yachts (Puma, Ericsson 3, Green Dragon, Delta Lloyd, Team Russia and Telefonica Black) are expected to reach the port city in two days time.
The current edition started in Alicante in Spain on October 4 and will end at St Petersburg on June 27. The teams will cover 39,000 nautical miles and touch 11 ports.