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IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race
Groupama sailing team kept their hopes of overall victory alive on Tuesday, overcoming the loss of their rig to claim the final podium position -- and a crucial 20 points -- for Leg 5.

"The mood among the guys is very good and we're still right in this race" - Franck Cammas

Groupama raced over the finish line under a cleverly jury rigged mast at 1358 UTC on Tuesday after a painfully slow final approach which saw their speed drop to as low as three knots in the fickle winds off the Brazilian coast.

"The guys all did a fantastic job and I am very happy with our podium place," said skipper Franck Cammas. "The mood among the guys is very good and we're still right in this race."

Just six days ago Cammas’ crew were questioning what they had done to deserve their ill fortune after a broken mast ended dreams of a second consecutive leg win.

They had looked to be winning their duel with eventual leg winners PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG through the South Atlantic when disaster struck.

They suspended racing at 1542 UTC on April 4 after their mast snapped in two, just level with the first set of spreaders, around 10 metres above the deck.

The sailors were able to recover most of the rig and made for the Uruguayan city of Punta del Este, around 60 miles from where the incident happened.

A round-the-clock repair effort saw a makeshift rig fashioned from the bigger of the two broken parts of the mast in just three days.

The team resumed racing at 0500 UTC on April 7 with seven crew on board including bowman Brad Marsh, who had five staples put into his wrist after accidentally plunging a knife into it while cutting away the mainsail from the broken mast.

Victory in the 6,700 nautical mile leg from Auckland to Itajaí would have seen the French team move within touching distance of overall leaders Team Telefónica.

However third place was consolation enough for Cammas’ men, who are now just 20 points behind the leaders.

They also extend their lead over third-placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, who should finish Leg 5 in fourth.

Comments

  • I agree, surely the simple way is to change the rules to state: "Any yacht receiving outside assistance for repairs or provisions, be that ashore or at sea wil be DNF for that leg." For example, it is surely unfair for a yacht breaking her rigging close to a port city, be repaired and still receive 20 points versus a yacht breaking her rigging in the middle of nowhere and having to withdraw from the leg?

  • Agree with the above comments that it is not 'heroic' in terms of being like the old races whereby you lost your rig and you were on your own. But we have to move with the times. First and foremost this is a yacht race that has seen competitor numbers fall off. Now more than ever interest must be maintained for all sponsors etc. If we used the old race system only Telefonica would be realistically competing! I for one would have no interest in watching if this was the case. The new system has allowed boat designers to push things to the absolute limit in terms of faster boats (probably too much with only 4 of the 6 actually finishing this leg). It is much fairer now. If Steinlager 2 had lost its rig on the 6th leg it would have handed the title to Fisher and P who had finished 2nd on almost/every leg. Would that have been reflective of the entire race in 89/90?? No! Making the boats complete the legs maintains the importance of being good boatmen and long may this continue. I do think that this new crop of ocean 70's are way to flimsy. The last leg was ridiculous. Maybe they should introduce a time bonus scheme whereby if you win by a certain amount of time you get extra bonus points?? This might force designers to make boats that last a bit more?!

  • Itajai is proud to receive the volvo ocean race. Congratulations to all teams.

  • Should be simple. You turn on your engine for any reason during a leg and you are DNF. Not heroic. It's a joke that Telefonica, Groupma, or Camper get points this leg!

  • Great effort, but heroic? Heroic was Ceramco in the 81-82 race which saw them build a jury rig 2000 miles out from Cape Town, no shore facilities and using only what they had on board. And no leaving half the crew behind to lighten the load!! The format of this race is wrong, the boats are not lasting the distance but there is minimal penalty for a DNF. Not like the old race, when you broke your boat you were out, a true test of sailing round the world. This race is like telling an F1 team that they have to drive there car to the next circuit.

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16152
IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race

A spectator fleet follows Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, sailing under jury rig, as they approach the finish line in Itajai, during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.

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PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race

Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, sailing under jury rig, as they cross the finish line in Itajai, during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.

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IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race

Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, celebrate on stage with President of the City Council, Luiz Carlos Pisseti and Mayor of Itajai, Jandir Belilini, as they finish leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.

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PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race

Groupama Sailing Team, skipper Franck Cammas from France, is interviewed on the dock after finishing leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.

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IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race

Crowds gather to see Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, sailing under jury rig, as they approach the finish line in Itajai, during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.

16121
PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race

Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, sailing under jury rig, as they approach the finish line in Itajai, during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.

Heroic Groupama take third place in Leg 5

Groupama sailing team secured third place in this fifth leg after recovering from the loss of their rig.