PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG have sustained their lead on the opening night of the Leg 6 race to their home country as the teams sail a straight-line trajectory towards a low in the South Atlantic.
Ken Read’s men have held a commanding position since blasting with assertion around yesterday’s 7.8 nautical mile quick-fire inshore course at Itajaí, and at 0700 UTC on Monday held a three nautical mile lead.
PUMA Media Crew Member Amory Ross said the team were abuzz with the reality of holding first place, racing home and the prospect of sailing the final 10-plus day leg of this race.
“The familiarity of our destination is exciting, and everyone’s looking forward to returning our Mar Mostro to the waters of the North Atlantic, the very same waters this adventure began so many months ago,’’ he said.
The secondary fleet positions have continued to shuffle overnight as the sailors settle back into routines, with Groupama sailing team jumping from last to third at 1900 UTC before returning to the back of the fleet just eight hours later.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand managed to shift from last to fourth at 0100 UTC, before jumping to second at 0700 UTC. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are in third place and Team Telefónica are fourth, just 3.9 nm behind the leaders.
The five teams have ticked off more than 200 nm since the 4,800 nm race started at 1700 UTC on Sunday, and have revelled in the first downwind start of this edition of the race Abu Dhabi MCM Nick Dana reported.
“Conditions couldn’t be any better for the moment; fast reaching, flat seas and warm water,’’ he said.
“It was difficult to get everyone into the watch routine, as they all seem to want to stay on deck and keep sailing. Azzam is off like a rocket and we are just holding off CAMPER who is about a mile to leeward of us.”
On board CAMPER the crew had an eerie sense that they had never been ashore, having spend just six days in Itajaí after an epic 31-day Leg 5 that was marred with hull damage and a pit-stop at Chile.
CAMPER MCM Hamish Hooper said the crew were in the worst physical shape they had been in so far, but mentally they were strong and focused on the race.
“There is no point sweating the stuff you can’t control or getting frustrated at things that can’t change, you just have to keep focused on doing as best as you possibly can every time there are points up for grabs,’’ Hooper said.
“It’s a relatively short leg, 14 days maybe, but there is going to be a lot on.
“From what our trusty navigator Will Oxley tells me, this leg is going to be a virtual minefield of opportunities for big loses, and alternatively big gains so anything can happen.”
Oxley reiterated that indeed it was going to be a tough race to call for navigators.
“It’s quite a tricky leg actually, the next four or five days will be very, very tricky; light and shifty with potential for big changes on the leaderboard,’’ he said.
“It could be for a long time any boat in the west looks better, but long term it looks like an easterly set up should pay.”
- 8 May 2012Top four in double match race to Miami
- 27 Apr 2012Five star sailing marks first 1,000 miles to Miami
- 25 Feb 2012Sayonara Japan: PUMA pounce back
- 30 Jan 2012Leaders see light at the end of the tunnel
- 28 Jan 2012Telefónica take control in Malacca test
- 26 Jan 2012CAMPER take lead on big day for Nicholson