PUMA’s dive towards the Brazilian coast appeared to have paid off early on Monday, buying them valuable miles -- and temporary respite -- against Leg 6 challengers Telefónica and CAMPER as they led the fleet into the Northern Hemisphere.
Ken Read’s crew had their hearts in their mouths for most of Sunday as they watched their rivals close their lead in the race to Miami to a worrying two miles.
However, after gybing just after passing the latitude of Fortaleza in the north east of Brazil, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG saw speeds rocket close to 20 knots and at 0700 UTC on Monday were enjoying a small but significant 25-mile buffer.
They were also the fastest boat in the fleet at the latest position report, averaging almost 18 knots.
PUMA crossed the Equator around 0830 UTC, the fourth and last crossing of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.
They now face the Doldrums, a band of moveable low pressure lying just above the Equator characterised by squalls, lying around 100 miles north.
At the latest position report Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were in fourth place around 65 miles behind, with Groupama a further 50 miles adrift.
- 5 May 2012All bets off in final 1,000 miles
- 5 May 2012Status quo returns after CAMPER 'thread the needle' off Anguilla
- 4 May 2012Intuition comes into play in east versus west split
- 30 Apr 2012PUMA extend as Abu Dhabi 'prepare for anything'
- 16 Nov 2011Waiting for King Neptune
- 15 Nov 2011PUMA and Telefónica size up Equator crossing