Volvo Ocean Race - Telefonica pulls ahead as Puma rejoins the fleet

Team Telefonica during leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China.
In the Volvo Ocean Race, Puma has re-joined the fleet after a brief, but miserable sojourn to the east, while leaders of the pack, Team Telefónica, have again extended their lead over second-placed Groupama sailing team. At 2200 UTC tonight, Telefónica led Groupama 4 by 19.4 nautical miles (nm).

At 1640 UTC today, the crew of Puma’s Mar Mostro had reached the Vietnamese coast, crossing astern of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam (Ian Walker/GBR). During the next three hours, they exchanged tacks with Azzam and, averaging 12 knots and sailing faster than anyone else, the crew of Puma’s Mar Mostro managed to nip across their bows and found themselves four and a half miles ahead of Walker and his team. They were back in touch and the leaders were just 27 nm ahead.

At 2200 UTC tonight, Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand’s third place was under threat from Read and his men as their comeback gained momentum with just over 400 nm left to run until the finish in Sanya on Saturday. Camper led Mar Mostro by just over four and a half miles, while Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were less than four miles astern.

Meanwhile, Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson/NZL) in sixth place, was still 76 nm south of the coast of Vietnam, and 187 nm adrift from Telefónica.

The fleet has now peeled away from the southeast coast of Vietnam and is heading out to sea before tacking and pointing towards Sanya. 'It will be a bit like rounding a Cape,' said Camper’s Chris Nicholson earlier. 'There’s going to be a fair bit going on. It will be windy and a potential for confused seas. We will have our wits about us for that bit'.

Volvo Ocean Race website