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Watch leg 7 documentary in full HD click here.

Final Results:

1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / 11 days, 04 hours, 23 minutes, 54 seconds / 30 points

2. Groupama sailing team / 11 days, 04 hours, 29 minutes, 21 seconds / 25 points

3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG / 11 days, 06 hour, 26 minutes, 52 seconds / 20 points

4. Team Telefónica / 11 days, 08 hours, 28 minutes, 27 seconds / 15 points

5. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand / 11 days, 08 hours, 30 minutes, 09 seconds / 10 points

6. Team Sanya / 11 days, 8 hours, 44 minutes, 25 seconds / 5 points

The start of Leg 7 was dominated by one name, and one name only. Not Franck, Ken or Iker, but Alberto.

The first tropical storm of the 2012 hurricane season raised its ugly head just in time in early May, sitting several hundred miles north of the Miami start line.

Straight from the off Tropical Storm Alberto threw a curveball at the fleet, who were doing all they could to stay out of its way while picking up the beneficial Gulf Stream current running north up the coast.

A sudden change in direction caught the fleet by surprise and before long they were taking a 35-knot battering in huge seas.

Early leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Telefónica could only watch as Groupama executed a perfect gybe in the centre of the storm and raced 40 miles in front of the chasing pack.

The early jump placed Groupama well for the North Atlantic sleigh ride that was about to ensue, thanks to an easterly moving depression.

However, the weather system was travelling too fast for the frontrunners to hold on, and Groupama, along with Telefónica, slammed straight into light winds.

Behind them, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand were the first to bail out of their position to the south of the fleet, heading north to find better breeze.

With the Gulf Stream still playing a massive role in the fortunes of the fleet, it was Abu Dhabi who emerged on top as they found themselves at the head of a front from the northwest.

Ian Walker’s men pulled out an 80-mile lead, with Groupama and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG picking up the chase.

The final hurdle was a band of light winds off the Portuguese coast, and as Abu Dhabi were in the lead, so they were the first to slow down, helpless as their rivals closed the gap.

As the leading teams approached the Tagus River, Groupama were within a mile of Abu Dhabi but the Emirati team held strong to notch up their first offshore leg win.

There were also celebrations for Groupama, whose second place finish propelled them into the overall lead with just two legs left.

PUMA took third, with Telefónica in fourth, CAMPER in fifth and Sanya in sixth.

With the top four teams split by just 21 points, the stage was set for the closest ever Volvo Ocean Race finish in its 39-year history.


- Leg 7 crew list

- Leg 7 start route map

- Leg 7 start course map


3,590 nautical miles (4,131 miles, 6,649 kilometres)

The direct route for this transatlantic passage would see the fleet passing both Bermuda and the Azores on the way to the European mainland. However predominantly light winds off Bermuda and later the effects of the Azores High weather system will likely force the navigators to choose a less direct route.

Leaving Miami, there is an opportunity to hitch a lift on the warm water currents of the Gulf Stream, which sweep around the western US coastline and out across the Atlantic. The tricky decision on when to make the break out of the Gulf Stream to head directly for the finish in Lisbon could well be the defining point of the leg, and one which will no doubt keep the navigators agonising throughout the crossing.


- Leg 7 crew list

- Leg 7 start route map

- Leg 7 start course map

Secondary Content


Groupama sailing team
CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ
PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG
Team Telefónica
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Team Sanya