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PUMA and Groupama battling for lead

It's full sails and full speed ahead towards Cape Horn, onboard PUMA Ocean Racing ©Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
It's full sails and full speed ahead towards Cape Horn, onboard PUMA Ocean Racing ©Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

The wind and sea have eased but the race has never been so intense, Groupama sailing team reported on Sunday when they were neck and neck with PUMA.

At 0700 UTC Groupama lost their Leg 5 stronghold to PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG. Ken Read's Mar Mostro, holding an easterly position closer to the current race waypoint, were 9.7 nautical mile ahead of Franck Cammas' Groupama 4, who had diverted ever so slightly west towards the coast of Argentina.

Groupama sailing team Media Crew Member Yann Riou said that the distance meant PUMA were “close enough to be extremely dangerous, but far enough not to be seen, so out of our control,”.

Riou reported that his team had entered the first of what was expected to be many fickle high-pressure zones that would leave the team open and exposed to PUMA’s challenges.

The crew are taking advantage of the conditions while they are conducive to sleep to help them recover from the Southern Ocean battering and aid their focus in the increasingly intense race, Riou reported.

“There will be loads of opportunities from here to Itajaí; upwind, downwind, reaching, soft breezes and two high-pressure systems to cross,’’ he said.

“So we take advantage of really good conditions for sleep, once on deck focus is required. The men are marked by the last two weeks of tough sailing, but the motivation is intact.”

In third position, Team Telefónica continue to mount their come back after hitting pause on racing to stop at a Chilean island for repairs to structural damage on Saturday.

The team suspended racing at 0640 UTC and were back on the racetrack officially pursuing the leading pair at 2133 UTC. At 0355 UTC the Spanish team were more than 400 nautical miles in the wake of Groupama.

Fourth placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand continue to trek towards Chile for repairs, while Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, in fifth, are still assessing their structural damage and considering all options.



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