Volvo Ocean Race - Telefonica and Puma battle for first

Groupama Sailing Team during leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Cape Town, South Africa to Abu Dhabi, UAE.
At 1900 UTC this evening in the Volvo Ocean Race, Telefonica and Puma’s Mar Mostro were embroiled in a battle for first place as the fleet racing in Leg 2 head north in a drag race some 681 nautical miles east of the coast of Madagascar.

Camper (Chris Nicholson/AUS) is also in the mix, just 5.30 nm behind Martínez and his men who are back on top. Groupama 4 has also made some substantial gains this evening and is in fourth, 162 nm to the east of the main pack. Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is still over 100 nm behind the leader tonight.

The endless days of no wind and icy cold rainsqualls are now a distant memory, replaced by typical trade wind sailing with warm spray coming over the deck and a shining sun, which have raised the spirits of the crew who had all but given up hope of finding these kinds of sailing conditions. Wet and smelly sailing kit is coming out to air and shoes are replacing sea boots as the temperature begins to climb. All the gear is carefully stacked on the windward side to tease out every ounce of boat speed.

Average speeds in the past three hours have been hitting just over 19 knots for Groupama 4 and have led to far more respectable 24-hour runs such as Telefónica’s run of 359 nm over the past 24-hours.

Meanwhile, the luckless Team Sanya continues to head towards the Madagascar port of Ehoala where they will assess their options after breaking a vital piece of supporting rigging on their mast (D2) in the early hours of this morning.

Volvo Ocean Race website