Volvo Ocean Race- Puma leads around Fernando by an hour

Dawn approaches on "Mar Mostro." PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa.

Puma Ocean Racing led the second placed yacht Team Telefónica, by an hour, as they passed the first mark off the western end of Fernando around 0400hrs UTC on 17 November.

Under the system used to judge race leaders used by Volvo Ocean Race organisers, effectively a Great Circle radius from the finish line in Capetown, they had Telefonica back in the lead this morning just hours after rounding Fernando de Noronha, despite actually being further north than PUMA Ocean Racing.

The reality is that on a fastest time to finish at Capetown Puma still maintained her margin which she has held for several days over the Spanish entry

Although Puma were around 15 nautical miles more to the south, Telefónica’s more easterly position meant they were physically closer to the finish line in Cape Town at the 0700 UTC position report.

Puma passed Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago of islands 190nm off the Brazilian coast, around 0400 UTC with Telefónica around an hour behind.

Puma skipper Ken Read said seeing land for the first time in almost two weeks was a pleasure.

Read said: 'They always bring out a 'Navy' ship to check out the fleet one by one - kind of a 'McHale’s Navy' looking vessel. The ship visit is a baptism for all the new guys and a ritual for those who have done this before, and you hop on the VHF and talk with someone other than the other 10 people on board. It’s the little things in life.'

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand pulled back nearly 70 nautical miles on their rivals overnight and this morning were 89 nm behind.

Groupama also faired better, gaining 47 nm between 0400 and 0700 UTC to leave them 375 miles astern of the leaders.

Rather than head in a straight line towards Cape Town, the fleet must now navigate the St Helena High, a huge, continually morphing area of high pressure sitting in between them and the Leg 1 finish line in Cape Town.
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