On Oct. 11, seven sailboats left Spain on a race around the world. After sailing across the Atlantic and turning around off the coast of Brazil, the first of the boats, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, reached Cape Town at 5:10 p.m. Wednesday, followed close behind by DongFeng Race Team.

The Volvo Ocean Race, which calls itself "the world's toughest ocean race," lasts nine months. Cape Town is the race's first stopover of nine -- the first landfall for these sailors since leaving Spain. As Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing made its way toward The Mother City, it had to tackle heavy winds as media boats swarmed nearby.

First Stop, Cape Town: Volvo Ocean Race

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing makes its way toward the Cape Town finish line on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. The team is swarmed by media boats.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

The sailors on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's "Azzam" play the heavy wind as the boat approaches the finish line.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's boat "Azzam," overlooked by Cape Town's majestic Lion's Head and Signal Hill.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Luke Parkinson, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's bowman and helmsman makes an adjustment moments before the boat crosses the finish line in Cape Town.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is flanked by media boats as it nears the Cape Town finish line.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Members of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team tell media boats to get out of the way.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Azzam's sails catch some wind as the boat approaches Cape Town.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Sightseers on motorboats take photos of the Abu Dhabi team on their phones.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

A member of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing adjusts a sail on "Azzam."

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

"Azzam" catches some wind as it nears the finish line in Cape Town.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team is the first of seven boats to reach the first finish line in Cape Town, but it is a close call with DongFeng Ocean Racing.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker at the helm.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Members of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing appear hard at work as the boat approaches the Cape Town finish line.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is the first to cross the first finish line in Cape Town, followed closely by DongFeng Race Team.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

A sailor with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing gestures to a teammate.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

As "Azzam" cleared the finish line in Cape Town, trimmer and helmsman Adil Khalid brought out the flag of the United Arab Emirates.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

DongFeng Race Team, which placed second in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, finished soon after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

A member of DongFeng celebrates after finishing the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Adil Khalid holds up the flag of the United Arab Emirates as the boat approaches the dock in Cape Town.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Spectators take photos of "Azzam," as the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team pulls towards the dock.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Spectators line the Cape Town pier to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race winners.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

A crew member of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team waves in celebration as the boat approaches.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Sailors aboard "Azzam" pump their fists after arriving in Cape Town.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

A crew member uses a cone as a megaphone as a triumphant Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team arrives.

The World's Toughest Ocean Race
 

The World's Toughest Ocean Race

Justin Slattery celebrates the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing win with his daughter after the boat is docked.

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After Cape Town, the race continues with stops in Abu Dhabi, China, New Zealand, Brazil, Rhode Island, Portugal, France, Netherlands and Sweden.

-- Emily Jan is a photojournalist whose work has appeared in outlets such as The Oregonian and Chicago Reporter. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyBJan.

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