Volvo Ocean Race

Underdogs on comeback trail

2012-03-28 15:55
Abu Dhabi team in the Volvo Ocean Race
Abu Dhabi team (File)

Auckland - Ten days after they were forced back to port in New Zealand, Volvo Ocean Race strugglers Abu Dhabi began the pursuit of an unlikely podium place on Wednesday as they started closing the gap on stricken Spanish rivals Telefonica.

Telefonica announced on Tuesday that problems with their boat's structure were too severe to fix at sea and would necessitate a pit stop in Ushuaia in Argentina, the world's southernmost city.

Telefonica need to finish Leg 5 in third place at worst to be certain of keeping their overall lead, with closest challengers Groupama looking strong in their duel with Puma for the top two positions.

They remain just over 1 000 nautical miles ahead of Abu Dhabi, but with the Emirati team touching speeds of 40 knots on Wednesday that lead could be overturned by the team Telefonica have emerged from the pit lane just past Cape Horn on Sunday or Monday.

"We're quite a long way off the pace with our delayed start time but you never know what could happen," said Abu Dhabi's Australian crewman Anthony Nossiter.

"The last time I did this race we passed three boats between Cape Horn and the finish by going west of the Falkland Islands. It's like a totally new race after the Horn -- it could be a restart."

Groupama were at the head of the pack on Wednesday, leading Puma by around 50 nm. Telefonica were around 300 nm back in third.

"We know we are in a race now for the podium," said skipper Iker Martinez. "Abu Dhabi are a long way back but they can catch up."

Camper, who like Telefonica will be forced to stop for repairs, were bracing themselves and their patched together boat for 30-knot winds over the coming 24 hours.

Sanya, the first Chinese entry in the race's history, are back in New Zealand and preparing to ship their boat to Miami after suffering rudder damage that will keep them out of this leg and the next.

Overall standings after four legs:

1. Telefonica (Spain) 122 points; 2. Groupama 107; 3. Camper/ETNZ (Spain/New Zealand) 104; 4. Puma (United States) 83; 5. Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) 55; 6. Sanya (China) 25

Read more on:    volvo ocean race  |  yachting

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Springbok coach Allister Coetzee remains defiant, saying he won't resign despite a shambolic two years at the helm. Your thoughts?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.