Volvo Ocean Race Leg 5 - Puma's fight for first place continues

Upwind sailing towards Brazil. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 17 of Leg 5. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:

And so the match race continues. Another day, another few tacks. Groupama and us are always within sight of each other and realistically, this could be the way it stays until the finish. We’ve long ago accepted the fact that we won't be getting much of a break before then!

I think by now our confidence in the boat is cemented. We’ve spent two days straight-line sailing against the French and we haven’t lost any more than we’ve gained. Fortunately, that helps the decision making process as we don’t feel the need to do anything drastic or radical. So our game plan remains the same: stay in the same patch of ocean, cover when we can, and sail for the small shifts.

Unfortunately, the strong upwind conditions we hoped we’d miss have arrived, and we’re back to slamming upwind in 20 knots. It’s stirring some horrible memories of the start of this leg, memories none of us have yet had time to displace. The uncomfortable sound of a bashing boat is only going to make our limited sleeping hours that much tougher. Oh well.

The breeze is expected to go aft at some point and we should start reaching north towards Itajaí. Then, and only then, will the 700-odd miles between us and Brazil start disappearing at a likeable rate!

'Can you imagine the tailspin this boat will go into if we run out of coffee?'

Jono Swain drinking his english tea on deck. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

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