The third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race kicked off from Cochin in India on Saturday.

The eight boat fleet were greeted by thousands of local people who came to see the fleet depart.

Before the official start the boats formed a Parade of Sail, which took place in the channel alongside the Race Village.

Thousands of spectators lined the river banks and in the Race Village itself to send the fleet off to Singapore.

It was Ian Walker and his crew onboard Green Dragon that made the best start off the line, leading from the pin end with Ericsson 4 and PUMA hot on their heels.

In a light six knot breeze the fleet began leg three in downwind conditions.

Ericsson 4, Telefónica Blue and PUMA made the first move on the Dragon, pulling out to the right away from the shore.

Green Dragon remained close to the coastline, slipping to fourth as the leading pack made the most of the north-westerly sea breeze.

Position reports a few hours into the leg showed just three miles separated the fleet from front to back.

The 1,950 mile leg will require the crew to deal with heat, humidity, shipping, fishing nets and piracy.

Whilst past legs have required enormous physical endurance, this leg will see the crews tested mentally, the next 10 – 12 days will be far from comfortable as the crews sail through heat and lighter conditions.

The next 24 - 48 hours will be tricky for the crews as they sail around the tip of India and Sri Lanka.

Talking from the dockside, Green Dragon Skipper Ian Walker commented:

‘There will be gains and losses especially in the transitions from sea breeze to land breeze.

‘There aren’t huge tactical options, but there will be some key decision as to when you tack.

He added: ‘This leg, certainly as far as the scoring gate will be a big test of upwind light to medium air speed. I hope we have the legs to stay with the fleet.

'Tactically there looks to be fewer options initially, so it will be the exact timing and detail of all that we do that will be important.’