Welcome to Sail-World.com's Volvo Ocean Race Newsletter for 20 May 2012
Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race is about to get underway from Miami, Florida.
The finish of Leg 6 proved to be a thriller, however Ken Read and his Puma crew did the business and scored their second successive leg win.
The places on that Leg caused the points table to concertina, to the point where places in the In Port races are now vital.
Although the winner of the first three trans-oceanic legs, Telefonica still has a very handy lead, it looks less invincible that it did previously.
What we are seeing is what would be expected of a race in which the main boats were all very closely matched. And that is what is pulling the fans.
The evening shift onboard Team Telefonica during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA. Diego Fructuoso /Team Telefónica/Volvo Ocean Race
However many seem to have difficulty with the fact that the race is virtually not all over by this stage, as it has been so many times before - where one boat has proven clearly superior to the others.
A key to this was in the final stages of Leg 6, when Puma and then the others realised they had to revert to two-boat testing methods if they were to stay ahead, and not be rolled from astern. They worked and it seems that others followed suit to protect a small but vital lead, before extending again.
Camper follows Puma, after rounding Eleuthera Island Light, and heading for the next two waypoints down the final stages of Leg 6, Volvo Ocean Race Virtual Eye/Volvo Ocean Race
The only thing that is for sure in this race, is that history will be made - when for the first time, the race will be won by a boat that has suspended racing, and received outside assistance. All six boats in the race have taken this step at some stage of the race. What is even more remarkable is that the current form boat in the race, Puma, could actually win the event, after dropping a whole leg.
This coming leg will allow fans to follow the action via the new 3D graphic tracker from Virtual Eye. This was operational for the last two days of Leg 6, and allows the viewer to fly around the Volvo fleet in a virtual helicopter - so you can be anywhere from high above the fleet to get the overall perspective, or dropped right on the stern of one of the boats to get a perspective of what lies ahead in terms of boats and land masses.
One of the many great features is the ability to see the instrument displays on the boats - so that experienced sailing fans can get a real 'seat of the pants' feel for the action and what is going to happen next.
Of course, nothing can forecast the weather and winners in the same way that the routing function of Predictwind is able. But with these two tools we expect to have an even better feel for the race and how it could unfold, than before.
Stay tuned to www.sail-world.com for the latest Volvo Ocean Race news, updated on a 24x7 basis by our editorial team around the world. We never sleep.
Richard Gladwell Editor@Large
If you wish to see Sail-World's complete Volvo OR coverage, go to www.sail-world.com - and click on the Volvo Ocean Race button in the top header bar, you'll see all stories for all regions from this exciting race - all updated as the race unfolds.
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