Lorient line honours for Groupama
Following Telefonica's rudder breakage, so the field was left clear to Groupama to achieve one of her primary objectives - winning leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race into their homeport of Lorient.
And so Franck Cammas and his crew crossed the finish line at 11:31:02 UTC to claim 30 points. If the finish order remains the same it will leave the French team 18 points clear of Puma in second place with Telefonica down to third, 28 points off first. True there are 42 points left but this victory for Groupama could well have won her the race, while the rudder breakage may have cost the Spanish team their race.
Groupama was not without its own problems the crew having to deal with a jammed lock on the main halyard at the peak of the strong winds on Wednesday night.
"It's a very good feeling for me and for the crew," Cammas said. "It was a short leg but it was very hard. Last night was very complicated and we took a lot of risks but finally they paid off. This was a dream we had 10 months ago and we're realising that dream now. We still have one leg to go and it's important to do well, but tonight we can have a good night."
As Groupama revelled in victory, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the line to take second place, with PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG on course for third.
The reality of seeing not just his leg 8 dreams but the prospect of overall victory dashed was sinking in for Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez. "The mood on board is as good as it can be in circumstances like these, as we have just seen any chance of us winning this round the world regatta slip away," he said. "It's like two years work just disappearing into thin air in a matter of minutes - what a mess. Now I'll be happy if we all get to shore without any further problems."