April 6, 2012 - 2030 UTC, Leg 5 Day 20
PUMA HOLD OFF TELEFÓNICA FOR EPIC LEG 5 WIN|
Leg 5 06/04/2012 19:48:37 UTC
DTL DTLC BS DTF
1 PUMA FIN 019d 18h 09m 50s 2 TELE FIN 019d 18h 22m 29s - CAMP Suspended Racing - GPMA Suspended Racing - ADOR Did Not Finish - SNYA Did Not Finish
PUMA held firm in the face of a relentless attack from Telefónica to clinch an epic Leg 5 victory on Friday, crossing the finish line in Itajaí, Brazil with a winning margin of just 12 minutes after the Spanish team had threatened to complete one of the great sporting comebacks.After more then 7,500 nautical miles of racing from Auckland, starting with a first-night battering as bad as any in the race’s history and on through brutal conditions in the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn, PUMA’s Mar Mostro finished in brilliant sunshine at 19:09:51 UTC.
Telefónica, who had been a constant threat to them, followed her in at 19:22:29 UTC for a second place that strengthens their position as overall leaders with five of nine offshore legs now complete.
Both boats were roared home by dozens of spectator boats and thousands of fans lining every possible viewing position on the way in.It was an extraordinary finish to the battle for first place in a leg that saw five of the six boats forced to stop for repairs.Telefónica were 400 nm behind the leaders when they resumed racing following a pit stop to work on structural damage to their boat. They quickly began to reduce that gap and when Groupama sailing team were forced out following a dismasting they were suddenly in a two-way battle for first. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG score 30 points for their win, taking their total to 113 points. It means they are just 34 points behind overall leaders Team Telefónica, despite having been forced to retire from Leg 1 because of a broken mast.
Groupama will reduce the Telefónica lead to 20 points if they complete the leg in third place under jury rig, as planned.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, currently carrying out repairs in Puerto Montt in Chile, can get back to within 28 points if they complete the leg in fourth.
As it became clear that PUMA were doing enough to hold off Telefónica, the team's Media Crew Member Amory Ross handed out chocolate treats to the crew, before skipper Ken Read took back the helm to take his team over the finish line.
"We've never seen such an amazing welcome," said an overwhelmed looking Read, who took time to sympathise with his five rivals and their problems over the course of the leg.
"I've never done such a tough offshore leg in my life. It's been pretty intense. Our hearts go out to the crews who have suffered damage. We know what that's like and it's even worse when it's in a place like the Southern Ocean."
Telefónica had been written off after suspending racing for 17 hours for structural repairs inside the Cabo de Hornos National Park on March 31. The team resumed racing at 2133 that same day, more than 400 nm behind the leaders.
Nevertheless, a powerful South Atlantic front that rose from the south propelled Telefónica to within striking range of PUMA within days. Anxiety levels were rising on board PUMA, even after Groupama’s dismasting on April 4, but Read’s men were able to steel their nerves in a long match-race to the finish line for their first leg victory in this edition.PUMA have had a steady rise since the devastating blow of their broken mast on Leg 1. In the past four scoring events PUMA have finished second three times and now first, with real momentum with the American-based team as they head towards Leg 6 to Miami in the United States.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will ship their boat to Itajaí for Leg 6, while Sanya will rejoin the race in Miami after losing a rudder while leading earlier on Leg 5.
April 6, 2012 - 1000 UTC Leg 5 Day 20
THE FINAL SHOWDOWN -- PUMA v TELEFÓNICA
Leg 5 06/04/2012 10:02:28 UTC
DTL DTLC BS DTF
1 PUMA 0.00 0 10 68.3 2 TELE 2.00 2 11.3 70.3 - CAMP Suspended Racing - GPMA Suspended Racing - ADOR Did Not Finish - SNYA Did Not Finish
Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Auckland to Itajaí has entered the final stage, with a thrilling finale being played out between PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read/USA) who believe this leg win is rightfully theirs, and Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) who have made an incredible comeback.At 1000 GMT and with 68.3 nautical miles (nm) to go until they cross the finish, PUMA led Telefónica by just two nm, but the Spanish team had the edge on speed, averaging just under a knot quicker. The leading boat is expected to finish around 1600 UTC today.
Martínez and his men, who made a 17-hour pit stop after rounding Cape Horn on March 31 to strengthen damage to the bow of Telefónica, have been closing on PUMA ever since they returned to the race track.“We’re doing our absolute best, but there is something very disconcerting about watching your lead evaporate to a boat thriving in conditions we can’t reach,” said PUMA’s Media Crew Member Amory Ross.Now downwind in 11 knots of wind in flatter seas, there is a renewed sense of determination on board PUMA as the two boats’ courses merge seven nm off the Brazilian coast and 24 nm from the final waypoint at Florianópolis, some 30 miles south of Itajaí.Meanwhile, work is continuing apace in Punta del Este to prepare a jury rig for Groupama in order that they can restart and complete Leg 5.
In Chile, the shore crew of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand are making good progress with the repairs to the boat and the race team intend to restart Leg 5 as soon as they can.