Yacht racing fans are reaching fever pitch in Abu Dhabi ahead of the current leg of the Volvo Ocean Race reaching its conclusion.
Vessels battling it out in the Leg 2, Stage 2 competition are expected to start crossing the line in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday afternoon. The Volvo Open 70s are expected to arrive from around 4pm local time as a hastily arranged restart sees them tackle a 98 nautical-mile sprint to the finish at Abu Dhabi's Destination Village.
The sprint will be hotly contested by the five-boat fleet as there are six points on offer for the first boat to cross the line. Forecasters have added an extra layer of excitement to the sprint, with a strong desert wind expected to test the crews' team-building sailing to its limits.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG currently sits in fourth place in the overall standings. The vessel came in third in the second leg after a broken mast ended the crew's dreams in the first leg - seeing them retire somewhere in the South Atlantic.
PUMA skipper Ken Read has said that despite the earlier misfortune, his team are keen to get some points on the board. He says the crew members will be giving it their all as the sailing race careens towards Abu Dhabi.
He said: "We absolutely need the points. There's a couple of teams at the top sitting very comfortably and the rest of us are trying to catch up."
The second leg is being restarted after it had to be divided into two sections due to unforeseen circumstances. The boats were lifted on to a ship and carried to the point of the restart off the Sharjah coastline. Workers spent Tuesday getting the vessels back off the transportation ships ahead the restart.
Crews then intended to prepare their boats for the sprint to Abu Dhabi, with the 98 nautical-mile dash starting at 10am on Wednesday.
Although dividing the leg into two has meant that the races are shorter, competitors have said that they still expected a rough ride. Speaking about the warning from forecasters, Read said: "The Shamal only happens every once in a while and sure enough we are expecting a big one on race day.
"Close to the coast there will be some some big waves and it will be very fast and furious on board all the boats for sure. It should be spectacular. Everybody will be sailing with all the stops pulled out."