Volvo Ocean Race overall leaders Telefónica have vowed to fight for a podium position in Leg 5 even though they are left with no option but to make a pit stop in Argentina for repairs.
Team Telefonica working hard on the pumps in the Southern Ocean, during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Iker Martínez’s team currently top the overall leaderboard with a 15-point margin over second-placed Groupama sailing team – but with their French rivals currently leading the 6,700 nautical mile leg from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí in Brazil, the pressure is on to carry out a quick turnaround and get back out on the racecourse.
'We’ve got a lot to lose if we don't keep our heads screwed on,' Martínez said. 'It is very frustrating as we've been preparing for this leg for a long time, but that's just how things can happen.
'Now we’ve got to fight for third place in this leg, which would be a good result in terms of the regatta as a whole.'
Telefónica will pull into Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego and the most southern city in the world.
With time at a premium, the shore team will look to carry out the repairs as quickly as possible so the sailors can resume the chase of Groupama and second-placed PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG.
'We haven't stopped thinking about how to keep this stop as short as possible,' Martínez added.
'Our plan is to use more than the materials we've got available to us on board to reinforce the bow.
'Once it’s done we will able to forget about the problems we might have if we have a particularly violent crash with a wave, and it would mean we'd be sailing a lot more at ease for the rest of this leg.
'Once we're in Brazil the shore guys will be able to repair the boat suitably and get her race ready for the next leg.'
At the latest position report, Telefónica had narrowed the gap to the leading pair by around 100 nautical miles to just over 300 nm.
Volvo Ocean Race website