In the Volvo Ocean Race, Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) have the bit between their teeth tonight after making more gains on leaders Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg (Ken Read/USA) and are pushing hard for the lead.
'We’re going for them,' said Telefónica’s helmsman Pablo Arrarte as the Spanish upped the pressure today on Puma. Not exactly music to the ears for Puma’s skipper Ken Read, but unsurprising nonetheless, given the intensity of the final section of Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí in Brazil.
For most of the morning, Puma had the edge in boat speed and were able to keep the Spanish team at bay. However, since 1700 GMT Iker Martínez and his men, who have maintained their course just shy of 100 nm off the coast, have had better breeze with a faster angle and impressive boats speeds of around 23.3 knots have seen the miles clicking down fast as the team draws closer to Puma.
At 1900 GMT, Puma was 320 nm from the final waypoint on this leg at Florianópolis, some 30 miles south of Itajaí and 41.10 nm ahead of Telefónica. The leg winner is expected to cross the finish at 1600 GMT tomorrow.
Meanwhile, there are still 20 points on offer for third place and both Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) and Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) would like to claim them.
In a race against time, it looks likely that Groupama, who dismasted on Wednesday and limped to Punta del Este, Uruguay, to fashion a jury rig, will be the first of the two teams to resume racing. While Groupama are hampered by a much smaller sail area, they will have only 580 nm nautical miles to sail to the finish.
Camper however, face a much harsher passage from Chile, south around the fearsome Cape Horn and will have 2,800 nautical miles of sailing before they reach Itajaí
Volvo Ocean Race website
by Volvo Ocean Race
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7:24 PM Thu 5 Apr 2012GMT
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2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race
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