Groupama split from PUMA at head of fleet

© Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
© Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race

Overnight, leaders Groupama sailing team gybed away from the south easterly track that they and second placed PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG had been sailing for several days.

Groupama Media Crew Member (MCM) Yann Riou said the gybe had taken almost two hours of hard work as the sailors first prepared the boat above and below deck with the actual maneuver requiring the entire crew on deck.

"The gybe itself was a little stressful at night especially since it's a week we spent on that tack," Riou wrote in his latest report from the boat. "We immediately did a visual check rigging after the gybe. Then came the optimisation of the stack, below and above deck."

By 0400 UTC today PUMA were yet to respond continuing south east, 48 nautical miles off the lead.

In third, Team Telefónica who yesterday confirmed plans to stop for repairs in Argentina also gybed to head north east shortly before reaching the eastern edge of the ice exclusion zone.

Telefónica MCM Diego Fructuoso said that although the boat and crew were holding up well the team had nevertheless decided to pitstop for repairs to protect their chances of a leg 5 podium result.

"Right now the first two have slipped away a bit and we have to start looking behind us, namely at Abu Dhabi who are at a considerable distance but starting to close," Fructuoso wrote.

"We are sailing as fast as we can without damaging anything and it's very cold. We have about four days to reach our first destination and we hope that conditions are not particularly hard on the way.

"We have to defend  the podium on this stage and our lead in the standings that we have worked so hard for. We are 1,400 miles to the stop and then about 1,800 to Itajaí. Let us hope that everything goes well.¨

At 0400 UTC CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand -- heading for a repair stop in Chile -- remained fourth on the leaderboard as fifth placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing continued to make rapid progress to the south east having passed the central ice exclusion zone waypoint overnight.

At 0400 UTC Abu Dhabi were 1400 nm off the lead and averaging 22 knots.

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