Alicante - American team Puma was the first to cross the equator in the opening leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante to Cape Town.
The crew, led by skipper Ken Read, leads rival Telefonica by about 16 miles.
Read and his team were the first of the four crews still racing in the 45 000-mile race to pass into the southern hemisphere.
Third-place Team New Zealand trails by 170 miles, while French team Groupama slipped 500 miles behind.
Two of the six teams were forced to pull out of the first leg after damaging their boats in the first 24 hours of the race.