This frightening and nauseating video was taken early this week on board a vessel taking part in the around-the-world Volvo Ocean race, as it encountered rough weather in the tumultuous Southern Ocean. The MAPFRE team’s vessel did an involuntary “Chinese gybe,” also known as a “death roll,” while located about 2,000 miles from the nearest landmass. Two other teams did Chinese gybes on Monday into Tuesday, according to the race’s website, in gale force winds and high seas, causing damage to some of the boats but no injuries.
Here’s how the Ocean Race officials define “Chinese gybes:”
“Basically, it’s a strong squall violently swinging the boom to the other side. The main sail slams over, the boat ends up in the water with the keel on the wrong side keeping it on its side.”
The Volvo Ocean Race is an around-the-world sailing competition that is unlike any other. It involves elite, daredevil sailors who must contend with some of the roughest seas in the world. Right now, the teams are crossing the Southern Ocean between Auckland, New Zealand, and Itajai, Brazil.
“It felt like I was on the Titanic when that happened,” said Liu Xue, a race rookie sailing in the Southern Ocean for the first time, according to the Ocean Race website. “I kept thinking ‘no, it’s going to be bad.’ But I calmed down quickly,” he said.
“Hopefully it’s not going to happen that often, otherwise I’m not sure if my heart is strong enough.”