Alicante - Spanish team Telefonica surged past Puma to take the lead in the Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday, dealing the American team a low as the first leg entered its third week.
Puma had led going over the equator and into the South Atlantic on the 7 500-mile first leg from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town, but a better choice of line has given Telefonica the advantage.
With more than 2 500 miles to go, Telefonica's lead of just around 15 miles is far from insurmountable, but Puma skipper Ken Read said his team is now an underdog.
"We got our butts handed to us today by Telefonica and by Mother Nature," Read wrote from the boat.
While Telefonica's easterly line gave them strong wind, Puma were caught without any breeze at all at times on a frustrating day.
"Unfortunately, we are still paying for this mistake," Read added. "There is clearly more wind up where Telefonica is and the rich keep getting richer."
In the 11th edition of the eight-month race around the world, Camper is around 200 miles behind the leaders, while France's Groupama are in fourth after a costly tactical mistake at the start.
The two other boats that started in Alicante- Abu Dhabi and Chinese entry Sanya- were forced to retire from leg one after the yachts were damaged in storms.
They are shipping their boats to Cape Town to be ready for leg two, starting on December 11.