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Less than a mile between Groupama and Puma

Groupama keeps an eye on Puma © Yann Riou/ Groupama Sailing Team
Groupama keeps an eye on Puma © Yann Riou/ Groupama Sailing Team

PUMA and Groupama are today engaged in fierce hand to hand combat for the lead on the way to Itajaí with the narrowest of margins separating the top two teams.

At 0700 UTC Groupama sailing team held a lead of just 0.2 nautical miles (nm) over PUMA, with Telefonica 112 nm behind in third.

In his latest report from the boat, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG Media Crew Member (MCM) Amory Ross said the unrelenting struggle for first place was taking its toll on the already weary sailors.

“Yet another day of close-proximity sailing with Groupama, yet another day of multiple lead changes with the French,” Ross wrote. It’s been said before, but it still amazes me that after all we have been through, here we are trading places less than a thousand miles away from the finish line. Our seesaw battle for first place is growing in intensity, and it’s a source of constant excitement.

“Even though Telefónica has been making quick northerly progress in better winds it’s still very much a two-boat game and that has changed the way we operate.Scheds? What scheds? Half the time the position reports go unnoticed and unread. Nobody looks, nobody cares. Walk up on deck and see with your own eyes!

“Are we up? Are we down? Fast? Slow? This morning—if they gybe, what do we do? This evening—if they tack, what do we do? Each scenario is scrutinized again and again (until they then do the unexpected!).
We are sailing with inshore mentalities -- boat to boat tactics on an offshore scale, shorthanded and under-fed. If the last 15 days are any indication, each and every boat length gained or lost is going to prove critical; it could be the decisive one to win with, or the heart-breaking one to lose from.

“So we push the boat and ourselves as if we’re sailing two mile beats, though we are most certainly not!

“The resulting consequence is fatigue. We were all tired to begin with, but the intensity of these last few days—and the next four or five expected to come—is wearing us out. Fortunately, while we’re low on food and energy, we’ve got plenty of enthusiasm and this close racing is keeping things interesting.”


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