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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Puma Powering Through The Doldrums - Volvo Ocean Race Update

PUMA Ocean Racing had two reasons to celebrate this morning after snatching the lead back from arch rivals Telefónica and making good ground through the notoriously fickle Doldrums.
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Ken Read’s crew on Mar Mostro have been locked in a 2,000 nautical mile match race with Iker Martínez’s Telefónica and it looks set to continue as the pair head through the Doldrums, the infamous area just north of the Equator where Northern and Southern weather systems converge.

But rather than get caught up in the light breezes that characterise the area both PUMA and Telefónica have made quick progress through, with speeds only dipping to around 10 knots at their lowest.
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
“We have seen nothing of the sail-flapping drift off from past races,” said PUMA’s media crew member Amory Ross. “It has been wet, windy, and frenzied, and credit goes to Tom (Addis, PUMA’s navigator) for staying patient and calculated through it all.

“Naturally unpredictable weather has done its best to keep us busy, and tonight has been one of squall dodging and sail changing; everyone’s tired.”
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
After Telefónica tore the lead from Read’s hands yesterday afternoon, the USA’s Read repaid his Spanish rival by snatching it back this morning, putting seven nm between the two boats between the 0100 and 1000 UTC report.

The drop in speeds for the leaders allowed Chris Nicholson’s CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand and Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team to make vital gains as the raced on at a lick towards the Doldrums.
Photo:  Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Between the 0100 and 1000 UTC reports, CAMPER pulled back 30 nm on PUMA with Groupama taking back 58 nm.

“Things have been trucking along reasonably well for us all on CAMPER,” said media crew member Hamish Hooper. “We are making good miles and just hanging in there trying not to let Telefónica and PUMA extend their lead by any more than we don’t need.”

Although losing miles to their rivals overnight, it is likely PUMA and Telefónica will escape the Doldrums first, allowing them to stretch out a lead once more as the teams sprint to Fernando de Noronha, the Leg 1 turning mark off the coast of Brazil.

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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