In the Volvo Ocean Race, Groupama sailing team extended their advantage at the head of the fleet, moving 46 nautical miles clear of Puma at 1900 UTC on Tuesday as race leaders Team Telefónica, 335 nm off the lead in third, revealed a plan to make a pit stop for repairs.
Damian Foxall working in freezing conditions onboard Groupama Sailing Team during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.
Now free of the restrictions of the ice exclusion zone the leading pair have continued to power south east in winds gusting over 45 knots at average speeds over 20 knots.
Fourth placed Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand who themselves committed to a repair stop in Chile two days previously continue slow but steady progress towards Puerto Montt now less than 2,000 nm away.
Meanwhile fifth placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are fast approaching the eastern end of the ice exclusion zone with their sights set on a possible podium result in Leg 5. At 1900 UTC Abu Dhabi were 1,426 nm off the lead travelling at an average speed of 20 knots.
Team Sanya, who were forced back to New Zealand by a broken rudder, today arrived in Tauranga. The team announced yesterday that the boat will be shipped to Savannah in the United States and then sailed to Miami ahead of the start of Leg 7.
Overall race leaders Team Telefónica will make a stop at the Argentine port of Ushuaia to repair bow damage and give themselves the best chance of holding on to a podium position in Leg 5.
Telefónica announced several days ago that they were slowing down to prevent further damage and skipper Iker Martínez confirmed today that delamination to the bow, sustained when a huge wave crashed down on them last week, would make a stop necessary before the finish line in Itajaí in Brazil.
'As you can see, we've got no problems in terms of continuing to sail, but if we continue to violently crash against the waves like this the damage could worsen and we want to rule out the possibility of that happening,' said Martínez, who is determined to go on and complete the leg.
Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said his crew had up to eight more days of cautious sailing to go before they make landfall and still needed everything to go well if they were to make a quick return to the action.
The 2,000 Miles to Chile party on CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)
'We still have a bit under 2,000 miles to travel and you can still see a lot of bad weather in that time,' Nicholson said. 'Weather wise you can just call this a hostile part of the world with regards to the severity of the weather fronts and we have got to keep this in mind.
'It’s a big expanse of water. Hopefully everything goes according to plan.'
Volvo Ocean Race website