Thursday, April 5, 2012

For Groupama It's Time To Regroup - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Itajaí, Brazil – Groupama Sailing Team were assessing their options early Thursday morning after being forced to suspend racing from Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 after their mast broke.
Photo: Yann Roui/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Groupama’s dismasting while in the lead on Wednesday leaves PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read/USA) with only Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) able to challenge them for the lead in the final stage of what has been an incredible Leg 5 from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajaí, Brazil

With 677 nautical miles to go to the finish line, Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) dismasted 60 nautical miles (nm) south of Punta del Este, the Uruguayan port that has hosted the Whitbread Race [the forerunner of the Volvo Ocean Race] on three occasions. It is the third broken mast in this edition of the race, which has seen Abu Dhabi Ocean Race break a mast on opening day and PUMA Ocean Racing break their mast in the South Atlantic during Leg 1.

Groupama held a narrow lead of about 2.2 nm over PUMA at the time and was sailing close-hauled on port tack, when the rig broke, level with the first spreader, about 10 metres above the deck.

"We just lost the rig now, all the crew is safe. We are working to stabilise the rig on the boat. Not easy," a desolate skipper Franck Cammas told Race HQ at the time. We suspend the race now and have a look at what doing. We are 59 miles to Punta del Este."

The team has not requested assistance but temporarily suspended racing at 1542 GMT. They are considering either continuing the 677 nm under jury rig to the finish in Itajaí, Brazil, or making for Punta del Este where they could step a replacement mast. The team’s spare rig is currently in a warehouse in the Netherlands.

The Telefónica crew, who were about 46 nm astern of Groupama at the time of the dismasting, reported a very complicated swell as the wind increased this afternoon. At 2300 GMT Wednesday night, Telefonica had closed to within 40 nm of PUMA with the two boats expected to arrive early Saturday morning into Itajaí.

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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