Volvo Ocean Race: Telefonica, the comeback kid

Groupama and Puma still locked in combat off the Argentine coast

Tuesday April 3rd 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Volvo Ocean Race charts courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and GRIB (European model) from PredictWind

Positions at 0655 UTC:

Pos Boat Skipper Lat Lon Spd Crs DTF DTL
1 Groupama Franck Cammas 39 56.830s 058 25.680w 11.8 347 919.7  
2 Puma Ken Read 39 53.850s 058 31.670w 12.4 342 919.9 0.2
3 Telefonica Iker Martinez 42 03.600s 058 40.330w 14.5 46 1031.7 112
4 Camper Chris Nicholson Suspended racing        
5 Abu Dhabi Ian Walker 44 17.370s 079 05.400w 12.3 106 2752.1 1832.4

This morning Groupama and Puma remain locked in combat, with both continually swapping the lead. At the latest sched Groupama technically is ahead, but by just 0.2 miles...

While yesterday it appeared to us that the lead duo would be spending the day bolting north in the favourable southwesterlies to the east of the area of high pressure emanating from the Argentinean coast, in fact both have bailed, worried that they would get trapped by the high. Yesterday afternoon at around 1500 UTC, Groupama was first to head northwest, ducking south of the high, followed soon after by Puma and both are now attempting to make their way upwind to its west. They continued northwest up until just before the latest sched (0655) when they finally tacked 75 miles from the Argentine coast.

All the while Telefonica has been steaming up from the south still in strong winds to the south of the high, albeit on the wind now, and as a result they have now closed to within 112 miles of the leaders, having more than halved their 245 miles deficit from 24 hours ago. So the Juan K Cup is back on...

Iker Martínez confirmed: “Everything's going well. The boat is sailing well. It's banging a fair bit as we're going very fast and there is some short swell, but nothing much, it's doing perfectly. It really sounds and feels solid, which is a good sign, and we hope it'll stay like that to Itajaí, where we'll carry out some more permanent repairs to really get her as good as new.”

Meanwhile on the opposite side of South America, Camper has suspended racing off the entrance to the Gulf of Corcovado, to the south of Chiloé Island. However there is still a long way to go before they reach Puerto Montt. Once they get into the Gulf they have to travel another 150 miles north. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is still 225 miles off the entrance, so hopefully they will come clean soon about whether they are going to follow Camper in or if they are going to peel off south and continue without stopping.

One wonders if these two are going to struggle to reach Itajai before the In-Port Race on 21 April.



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