Five racing yachts involved in the Volvo Ocean Race are being transferred across the Indian Ocean to a set-down point off the Sharjah coastline in the northern Emirates as part of anti-piracy measures.

It is the first time ever that 15-tonne yachts have been lifted onto a commercial ship in open waters with their tall masts affixed to the boats.

When the yachts arrive in Sharjah, the teams will then take part in a one-day sprint to the finish line in Abu Dhabi for the completion of Leg 2.

Spain's Telefonica won a game of cat and mouse with chief rivals Camper on Monday, grabbing victory in the first stage of Leg 2 in the Volvo Ocean Race by a margin of less than two minutes.

In a finish described by winning skipper Iker Martinez as "madness", Telefonica stole in front of Camper with eight nautical miles to go in a stage that ended at an undisclosed, anti-piracy, safe-haven port in the Indian Ocean.

The margin of victory was remarkable for a race that lasted over 15 days and 4,000 nautical miles.

The boats were loaded onto the ship in a process that saw all of the team’s shore crews working together as one unit, as each team were only able to have two shore crew members on-site.

It was announced in August that the route for Legs 2 and 3 would be re-drawn because of the increased threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Piracy is a well-organised and highly lucrative business and it has expanded into a vast area off the coast of Somalia.