Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1 - Telefónica blast towards finish line + Video

Team Telefónica during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Maria Muina/Equipo Telefonica
Volvo Ocean Race leg one leader Team Telefónica, skippered by Spanish Olympic gold medal winner Iker Martínez, were headed for glory on Saturday with just 106 nautical miles to the Cape Town finish line at 1200 UTC, with an ETA of 1700 UTC.

Their rivals Puma Ocean Racing have reached the remote South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha five days after dismasting in the South Atlantic.

With second-placed Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand 208nm behind, only a last-minute mishap will prevent Telefónica from taking the top spot in the 6,500nm sprint from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town, South Africa, the first of nine legs that make up the Volvo Ocean Race.

Rob Salthouse sorting out rope tails onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)
Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©

'Telefónica have romped away,' said Camper navigator Will Oxley, who predicts a Sunday morning arrival for his team. 'They are well to the east in better conditions – they did a really good job. We’ve had to try to cut the corner a little bit trying to run away from a high pressure sitting to our west.'

With third place guaranteed, Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team saw their speeds halve from 20 knots over night after opting to take a slower but safer route to Cape Town.

'We don’t really look at the position reports any more,' their media crew member Yann Riou said. 'The game now is to bring Groupama 4 as soon as possible and in the best condition possible to Cape Town. To rest, to look after the boat, to optimise her and to start the second leg.'

Current routing puts Groupama in Cape Town on Monday night.

Tom Addis driving "Mar Mostro" towards Tristan de Cunha island with all of the foul weather gear on deck to dry. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG is dismasted in the South Atlantic Ocean during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

Meanwhile, Puma Ocean Racing’s Volvo Open 70 yacht Mar Mostro arrived in Tristan da Cunha, the next phase of the plan to see them rejoin the race for the next leg to Abu Dhabi.

Puma dismasted on Monday November 21 while chasing Telefónica in what was a two-week long match race between the two teams.

The Puma crew now face a four-day wait on the tiny island – population 262 – for a ship from Durban which will pick up Mar Mostro and take her to Cape Town.

Puma’s MCM Amory Ross said the team were upbeat about their chances.

'Our week here is going to be an experience nobody will ever forget, and we’re all planning on taking advantage of it as such. Can we make the start? Yes. Will we make the start? Don’t know, not yet. You can be very sure though that we won’t stop trying.'



Positions on 26/11/2011 at 12:03:39 UTC
  DTLDTLCBSDTF
1TELE0.000.020106.9
2CMPR208.801.018315.7
3GPMA813.605.020.3920.5
-ADORRetired from Leg 1
-PUMARetired from Leg 1
-SNYARetired from Leg 1

Volvo Ocean Race website