Wednesday, March 7, 2012

PUMA Drop Back To Third - Volvo Ocean Race Update

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG are today fighting to hold on to third position after a series of windless rain clouds slowed Ken Read’s team dramatically over the past 24 hours allowing Iker Martínez’s Team Telefónica to squeeze into second place.
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
At 1300 UTC PUMA had dropped 30 nautical miles on leaders Groupama in three hours and fallen behind Telefónica by 15 nm. CAMPER also closed in on PUMA, trailing just 48 nm in their wake.
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
While PUMA struggled Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team appeared unable to put a foot wrong and at 1300 UTC they had extended their lead to 150 nm. Having been stymied twice yesterday by massive rain clouds that reduced the wind and PUMA’s boat speed to almost zero at around 1000 UTC, yet another huge cloud dealt Read’s crew a third body blow.
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
“We just ran into another big cloud with no wind so we’re parked up,” said PUMA helmsman Kelvin Harrap. “It’s not great. We’ve been on the eastern side of the fleet and we’ve picked up more clouds so it hasn’t been very favorable for us.

“We are trying to pass them the best we can using the radar and sailing around the ones we see. Right now we’re in the middle of a bad one, which seems to like us more than any of the others.”
Harrap said the PUMA crew was unsure why they had suffered more than the rest of the fleet but were hoping for better luck as they tried to hold off Chris Nicholson’s fourth place CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand.
“Right now we are just trying to keep the boat moving and sail towards some clear sky,” he said. “We are excepting some fresh upwind sailing in the next few days and we are trying to decide how to position ourselves in relation to Telefónica and CAMPER.

“We will see what happens in the next 24 hours and how it’s going to pan out.”
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Meanwhile, fifth placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing had also been caught out, spending a day fighting to escape a windless zone in the lee of New Caledonia despite having stayed well away to avoid just such a problem.

“I wouldn’t have felt so hard done by if we hadn’t had a conservative strategy of staying on Groupama and PUMA’s line 100 miles offshore of the island,” Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker said. “Groupama and PUMA sailed on by without missing a beat and we lost 100 miles at least.”
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Walker said the costly park-up was all the more painful because it had come straight after Abu Dhabi had lost touch with the top three boats when they had to detour around the top of the Solomon Islands.

However, with more than 1,000 nautical miles to go to Auckland Walker said the Abu Dhabi crew was now determined to hold off Team Sanya and try to catch fourth placed CAMPER before the end of the leg.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
“There is no time for feeling sorry for ourselves, we have a race on with Sanya, we have to try and still catch CAMPER and we have a race on to be ready for the next leg,” he said.

“The wind is building, we are nearly pointing at Auckland. Life isn’t too bad and we’ll try and get there for the weekend.”

At 1300 UTC Abu Dhabi remained in fifth, 63 nm ahead of sixth placed Team Sanya and 119 nm behind CAMPER in fourth. Leg leaders Groupama had 696 nm to go to Auckland and are expected to arrive between 0600 and 1200 UTC on March 10.
Leg 4
07/03/2012 13:01:00 UTC
DTLDTLCBSDTF
1GPMA0.00017.9696.0
2TELE149.50618.7845.5
3PUMA164.10306.5860.1
4CMPR211.70116.2907.6
5ADOR330.30418.51026.2
6SNYA393.60517.81089.6
Volvo Ocean Race Media

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