Lisbon - French boat Groupama emptied more than a tonne of water from their boat on Wednesday to continue their 11th hour comeback in the seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.
It took Franck Cammas's crew more than three hours to drain the water and repair the leaking storage tank but despite the setback they moved to within 15 miles of leaders Abu Dhabi in the final 24 hours of the stage from Miami to Lisbon.
"Our ballast tank will be operational again for the final sprint once we're through the ridge of high pressure," said Groupama's Yann Riou. It was not clear what had caused the leak.
Two days ago Groupama were languishing in fifth place but have since outpaced their five rivals moving rapidly into second.
With less than 400 miles left, 50 miles split the fleet with each team in with shot of winning the leg as they slowed in light winds off the coast of Portugal.
Victory for Groupama could give them the overall lead with two legs to go if Spanish challengers Telefonica finish no higher than third.
The 39,000-nautical mile race is due to finish in Galway, Ireland on July 7.
Overall standings: 1 Telefonica (Spain) 165 points, 2 Groupama (France) 158, 3 Camper (Spain/New Zealand) 152, 4 Puma (U.S.) 151, 5 Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.) 74, 6 Team Sanya (China) 27.