Main Content

2011-2012

Review


Watch leg 5 documentary in full HD click here

Final Results:

1. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG / 19 days, 18 hours, 09 minutes, 50 seconds / 30 points

2. Team Telefónica / 19 days, 18 hours, 22 minutes, 28 seconds / 25 points

3. Groupama sailing team / 23 days, 12 hours, 58 minutes, 44 seconds / 20 points

4. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand / 30 days, 11 hours, 35 minutes, 43 seconds / 15 points

Retired from leg 5

- Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / Hull damage / 0 points *

- Team Sanya / Rudder damage / 0 points *

* Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing retired from Leg 5 at 10:00 UTC 4 April due to hull damage. On April 10 at approximately 13:30 UTC Azzam departed on a ship from Puerto Montt, Chile to Itajaí.

* Team Sanya retired from Leg 5, returned to New Zealand, the yacht was then shipped to Savannah for repairs and sailed to Miami to rejoin the race.

Was this the toughest leg in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race?

With only one of the six boats making it all the way from Auckland in New Zealand to Itajaí in Brazil without having to stop for repairs -- or worse -- it qualifies in terms of attrition and the video showing Telefónica sailors being blown horizontal by a massive wave will leave an indelible mark on the race.

But there was more to this leg than a struggle for survival. To win the leg, Ken Read's PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG not only had to avoid the breakages that devastated the fleet but then withstand a heroic recovery from Team Telefónica, who came back from the brink to give their rivals a mighty fright and eventually clinch a second place that strengthened their grip on the overall standings.

Leg 5 was always tipped to be the biggest challenge of the race and it lived up to its billing right from the start, as the fleet encountered brutal first night conditions with massive waves and head winds up to 40 knots. Within hours of Team Sanya leading the fleet out of Auckland, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were forced to turn back for repairs to one of their bow bulkheads. As Ian Walker’s crew scrambled to get back in the race the remaining five boats led by Team Telefónica headed towards an intense tropical depression north east of New Zealand.

CAMPER co-skipper Stuart Bannatyne, competing in his sixth edition, said: “Without a shadow of a doubt, that was one of the hardest opening nights of a Volvo leg I have ever done.”

After blasting their way south east towards the Roaring Forties the fleet got a brief respite on the third day when they crossed a high pressure system bringing lighter winds. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s shore crew had worked round the clock to repair their damage only for the Emirati team to have to shelter from a 60 knot storm before resuming racing.

On PUMA, injuries to Casey Smith and Thomas Johanson made skipper Ken Read consider a diversion to the Chatham Islands to evacuate the casualties but after telephone consultations with medical advisers ashore Johanson’s dislocated shoulder was successfully put back in place by Jono Swain, while Smith was confined to his bunk on a regime of painkillers. Both sailors ultimately made good recoveries.

Team Sanya briefly took the leg lead before breaking their windward rudder and spinning into a horrific crash gybe which pinned the boat flat at night time on Day 5. After a full assessment of the damage the next day, skipper Mike Sanderson made the heart breaking decision to suspend racing and turn back to New Zealand for repairs. Arriving in Tauranga five days later Sanya committed to making a return to the race by the Miami stopover.

Meanwhile CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand built a 50 nm lead over chasing Groupama sailing team and PUMA as the conditions became increasingly extreme, forcing the teams into survival rather than racing mode as they tore past the 800 nm long exclusion zone put in place by the race organisers to keep the boats sake from the risk of icebergs. The breakneck conditions continued throughout the sixth day with all four remaining boats turning in 24-hour runs over 500 nm.

After two perilous nosedives in succession CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson commented: “If we can get through this unscathed we will get ashore and think this was the best time we ever had. But right now at this moment in time I have to call it quite a stressful situation. Then with just under 5,000 nautical miles to go, leaders CAMPER were forced to throttle back to try to repair damage to their bow sustained by launching off the up to 10 metre seas. The following day, running short of materials to carry out a full repair and after consulting with the boat’s design team, Nicholson’s crew were forced to head for Puerto Montt in Chile 2,500 nm away to rendezvous with their shore crew for a repair pit stop.

Worsening conditions over the next few days saw the leading trio face freezing air temperatures, massive waves and winds gusting up over 50 knots. Third placed Telefónica were forced to slow dramatically to prevent bow damage sustained earlier in the leg from worsening. As Abu Dhabi finally got some solid breeze after being trapped in a high pressure system 1400 nm behind the leaders Telefónica confirmed their intention to stop for repairs after rounding Cape Horn.

Groupama and PUMA rounded Cape horn just an hour and a half apart and turned north for Itajaí. Abu Dhabi, now 1400 miles behind had been sailing at peak speeds over 40 knots but then had to slow to just 5 knots when the crew discovered damage to the side of the boat. After sailing cautiously to assess the damage Ian Walker’s crew carried out a heroic repair on the water repair which involved bowman Justin Slattery being lowered over the side to drill through the boat’s hull and insert more than 30 bolts to bind the inner and outer skins together.

Telefónica stopped in the Cabo de Hornos National Park to meet their shore crew for 17 hours of repairs allowing bowman Antonio Cuervas-Mons, Ñeti, to leave the boat after sustaining a back injury. Telefónica resumed racing on April 1 with a seemingly impossible 412 nm deficit to the leaders. However as PUMA and Groupama engaged in an intense match race for the lead just six nm apart Telefónica began a spectacular comeback. Aided by favourable winds clocking up 415 nm in 24 hours and continuing their charge at every position report.

By Day 17 Telefónica had closed to within 100 nm of Groupama and PUMA, who had been trading the lead by the hour with just over 800 nm to go in strong headwinds and a confused seaway.

The following day Groupama were put out of contention when their mast broke above the first spreader when they were leading PUMA by two miles. The devastated French crew quickly re-grouped and headed for Punta del Este in Uruguay to set up a jury rig as CAMPER began repairs in Chile and Abu Dhabi make the decision to also head to Puerto Montt ahead of shipping their boat to Brazil.

That set the scene for the thrilling denouement, with Telefónica sailing further offshore in stronger breeze and hauling in PUMA until they were within one nautical mile of the leaders.

Spectator boats came out to greet the two rivals on the final stretch up the coast in brilliant sunshine on Friday, with most of the locals urging on Telefónica and their Brazilian crew member Joca Signorini.

It was not quite to be, as the wind, while light, remained relatively stable, leaving Telefónica no opportunity to get past.

PUMA held on for victory and 30 points, completing a glorious comeback of their own following their dismasting in Leg 1and lifting them temporarily at least to second place on the leaderboard.

Groupama's ingenious jury rig saw them safely home in third and CAMPER eventually followed them home in fourth, arriving 31 days after their departure from Auckland and 10 days after the winners.

Download:

- Leg 5 crew list

- Leg 5 start inner course map

- Leg 5 start outer course map

Preview


6,705 nautical miles (7,716 Miles, 12,418 Kilometres)

Leg 5 is the longest passage in the race and likely to feature the classic Southern Ocean high speed sleigh-ride sailing for which the Volvo Ocean Race is renowned. Race-imposed safety waypoints should keep the boats north of the main areas of iceberg risk, but the extreme conditions of the Southern Ocean will test the nerve, skill and stamina of the crews to the limit. The course initially takes the fleet from Auckland northwest across the Southern Ocean to the tip of South America at Cape Horn. From there the boats must cross the South Atlantic, avoiding the Falkland Islands on the way to the finish in Brazil.

Download:

- Leg 5 crew list

- Leg 5 start inner course map

- Leg 5 start outer course map

Secondary Content

Scoreboard

LEG 5
TOTAL
1
Groupama sailing team
20
253
2
CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ
15
231
3
PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG
30
226
4
Team Telefónica
25
213
5
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
0
131
6
Team Sanya
0
51

HISTORY