Volvo Ocean Race: Telefonica to stop at Cape Horn for repair session

Team Telefonica working hard on the pumps in the Southern Ocean, during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.
Team Telefónica will carry out repairs at Cape Horn without stopping on land instead of heading into Ushuaia in Argentina after refining their pit stop strategy for Leg 5.

The move is to save time, and assure themselves of a third place finish in the leg.

Skipper Iker Martínez said the team's technical chief Horacio Carabelli would meet them by boat at Maxwell Bay, a move that should save them a significant amount of time as they bid to stay within striking distance of Groupama sailing team and Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, who both rounded Cape Horn on Friday.

Once the support team have found an isolated spot, they will begin repairs on Telefónica with a view to getting them back on their way after 12 hours -- the minimum amount of time a team can suspend racing.

At current estimates, Telefónica should round Cape Horn early on Saturday UTC.

'We've decided to make a quick stop at Cape Horn to reinforce the damaged area of the hull and be able to carry on as quickly as possible,' Martínez explained.

'The area around Cape Horn is a labyrinth of islands, which on this occasion is going to help us get some shelter and allow us to work on the boat efficiently, without the boat moving and while keeping it dry.

'The rules say that if you suspend racing it has to be for a minimum of 12 hours, so we'll see if we can do the whole thing in that time. First of all, we'll check to see that the outside of the hull is intact. If that's the case, and I hope it is, we'll find a sheltered spot, just behind the island of Cape Horn, to work comfortably.

'If all goes well, we'll try to carry out the repairs without stopping on land to avoid sailing up to Ushuaia, which would mean another 100 miles. Horacio is sailing from Port Williams now in a 50-foot steel sailboat which will bring them to the cape.'

Martínez said he still had hopes of catching the front two in the race, though having to stop at all had reduced their chances.

Latest Volvo positions showing Abu Dhabi on a similar course to Camper and heading for Chile

'It's a shame that we have to stop, because even with the problems we've had, the boats in front are only 15-18 hours away,' said the Spaniard.

'Once we've finished the repairs we'll be aiming to get back to full speed. PUMA and Groupama may not push forward so much over the next few hours but their lead might be just too much for us to catch them before we get to Itajaí.

'But even though the gap seems insurmountable, the climb up to Brazil has some tricky points and we are likely to come across a complicated high that might shake things up, and that's given us a bit of hope that they may be stopped in their tracks and we could catch up with them.

'You can always dream that something good might happen, right?'

Telefónica are 15 points ahead of Groupama in the overall standings and need to finish at least third to be certain of keeping hold of first place.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi who dramatically hove to in the Southern Ocean to effect a hull repair has not resumed racing on a course for Cape Horn, and instead have fallen in behind Camper sailed by Emirates Team NZ, who are headed for Puerto Montt on the Chilean coast.