Volvo Ocean Race - Groupama cross Leg 5 finish
by Franck Cammas on 11 Apr 2012
Volvo Ocean Race skipper Franck Cammas and his men crossed the finish of the fifth leg, between Auckland (New Zealand) and Itajai (Brazil), at 13h 58m 45s (UTC).
Groupama Sailing Team during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race http://www.cammas-groupama.com/
Groupama 4 secure third place in this action-packed race between New Zealand and Brazil. After three days under jury rig between Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Itajai, Groupama 4 further boosts her second place in the overall standing. The French boat will make the most of this 12-day Brazilian stopover to find her wings again, as a new mast is due to arrive in Brazil in the next few days.
23 days 12 hours 58 minutes and 44 seconds: such is the final race time for this leg between Auckland and Itajai, via Cape Horn. For the actual time at sea, you have to deduct 61 hours 46 minutes of suspended racing following Groupama 4's dismasting, just as she had gained the upper hand over the Americans on Puma, offshore of Rio de la Plata. As such, it's a huge relief for all the shore team and sailing team to have managed to recover the whole of the rig and to have rebuilt a new spar so as to cover the remaining 650 miles between Punta del Este and Itajai.
Franck Cammas and his crew perfectly negotiated the trickiest and toughest part of the Volvo Ocean Race by being the first to round Cape Horn, after enduring over eight days of an extremely long and violent austral storm. The climb up the Argentinean coast was the opportunity for an intense and superb duel between the French and the American boats. Indeed for four days, Groupama 4 and Puma were continually jockeying for position at the head of the race, where they were sailing within sight of each other! And whilst the two VO-70s were beginning the final sprint to the finish offshore of Uruguay, together with a Spanish crew who had performed a dazzling comeback after a pit stop behind Cape Horn, Groupama 4's mast broke just below the first set of spreaders…
This incredible suspense was cut short at that point as Franck Cammas and his men suspended racing to make for Punta del Este to effect repairs. In a little less than three days, the shore team had managed to recover and adapt the upper section of spar to assemble an 18m-high jury rig. In this way, Groupama 4 was able to complete this fifth leg and secure third place, Sanya and Abu Dhabi having retired due to damage and Camper having had to make a pit stop in Chile to reinforce her bow. In fact the latter is just about to round Cape Horn (early on Wednesday) as Groupama 4 was making it into Itajai…
Quote from the boat
Franck Cammas, skipper of Groupama 4: 'To finish third in Itajai isn't too bad, even though we had slightly higher, more fulfilling ambitions a week ago than to finish the leg under jury rig! This result enables us to remain in contact with the leaders in the overall standing, since the Spanish are just twenty points ahead. It remains a big disappointment, but part of that sentiment has been erased by the work the shore team and the sailing team did in Punta del Este. We can be proud of what we've achieved and I think we've come out all the stronger from this.
Heroes? We're not heroes. I just hope that we're good sailors… We're still in a positive phase and as skipper, I won't have any difficulty in remotivating the crew for the next leg. We still have some very clear and very ambitious objectives: we're going to rig up our spare mast, which is due to arrive in Brazil soon. We've proven during this tough leg that we've sailed well and there's no reason why we shouldn't perform just as well in the next stage…'
Standing for the fifth leg from Auckland-Itajai
1-Puma (Ken Read): 19d 18h 09' 50
2- Telefonica (Iker Martinez): 19d 18h 22' 28
3- Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas): 23d 12h 58' 44
4- Camper (Chris Nicholson): 2,100 miles from the finish
DNF: Abu Dhabi (Ian Walker)
DNF: Sanya (Mike Sanderson)
Overall standing after five oceanic legs and five In-Port races
1-Telefonica (Iker Martinez) : 1+30+6+29+2+27+6+20+1+25 = 147 points
2-Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas) : 2+20+2+18+5+24+2+30+4+20 = 127 points
3-Camper (Chris Nicholson) : 4+25+5+24+4+18+3+15+6+15* = 119 points
4-Puma (Ken Read) : 5+0+4+19+3+17+5+25+5+30 = 113 points
5-Abu Dhabi (Ian Walker) : 6+0+3+10+6+14+4+10+2+0 = 55 points
6-Sanya (Mike Sanderson) : 3+0+1+5+2+5+1+5+3+0 = 25 points
*Subject to Camper finishing this fifth leg.
Groupama Sailing Team website