The Gibraltar Strait is a nerve-racking passage at the best of times. It is narrow, with strict traffic exclusion zones, and sees some of the highest concentrations of commercial shipping in the world.
Combine that with 30-plus knots of wind funneling through the Strait, a nearly moonless night, and the pressure that comes with racing against the best competition in the world, and you have the makings of a hellish start to your week.
Dongfeng Racing Team's Stu Bannatyne, a veteran of seven Volvo Ocean Races, has seen it all. You don't get the nickname 'King of the Southern Ocean' without putting some hard-earned miles under the keel. But even he admitted the second night at sea for Leg 1 was challenging.
"The lasf few hours have been pretty hectic," he said in a typically understated manner.
"First it got dark as we approached the Strait, and the foecast called for a building breeze, especially on the exit to upwards of 30-knots..."
So they shortened sail - "It's far too early in the race to be risking anything."
"Nice shore sea state, wind against tide. So we have plenty on at the moment. The wet weather gear is getting a good workout...
"Basically, we just have to survive the next few hours."
Typical sentiments for a Monday at work perhaps, but most workplaces aren't like this.