Volvo Ocean Race

Puma lead way to Miami

2012-04-23 11:52
Volvo Ocean Race (File)

Itajai - American Ken Read wasted no time in stamping his intention to win the Volvo Ocean Race leg 6 race to his home country, leading the fleet out of Itajai on Sunday and into the first few crucial days of the 4 800-nautical mile course to Miami.

His Puma crew led the fleet out of Brazil with Spain's Iker Martinez at the head of the chasing pack in Telefonica after making a second error in 24 hours to cede the early advantage.

Martinez, an Olympic gold medalist in Athens 2004 and gunning for another in the London Games, was frustrated as his crew bungled a sail change and a turn after making the early pace in gusty conditions.

On Saturday, the Spanish world sailor of the year took the blame after his boat astonishingly turned around the wrong marking buoy while comfortably leading the Itajai in-port race and slid from first to last.

This time he has plenty of time to make up for Sunday's slip but Read has recently proved he can be hard to shift once he gets his boat in front after winning the treacherous leg 5 through the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn.

Conditions for this stage should be easier than the route from Auckland to Itajai which forced five of the six-strong fleet to take refuge for repair pit-stops as the boats were battered by some of the toughest sailing conditions in the world with 90 kph winds and eight-metre waves.

Telefonica lead the overall standings but Saturday's shocking error left French challengers Groupama only 16 points adrift and with each of the four remaining legs worth 30 points to the winners, the race is still wide open.

"We can enjoy this leg a lot, it has a lot of good conditions, a lot of fast sailing conditions," Groupama skipper Franck Cammas said.

"It's good for the crew, it's good for the boat, and I think we can manage this boat very well in these conditions."

The eight-month, 39 000-nautical mile race is scheduled to finish in Galway, Ireland in the first week of July.

Overall standings:

1. Team Telefonica (Spain) 149 points
2. Groupama (France) 133
3. Camper (NZ/Spain) 124
4. Puma (USA) 117
5. Abu Dhabi 58
6. Team Sanya (China) 25

Read more on:    volvo ocean race  |  yachting

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