After finishing second in the past three legs, PUMA finally tasted victory in one of the most thrilling stretches of the entire Ocean Volvo Race. Less than 13 minutes separated PUMA and Telefónica as they both reached Itajai, Brazil, on April 6, having traveled over 6,700 miles from Auckland, New Zealand.
“We had a strategy. We talked about it a lot as a group, how we were going to approach our leg, what were our priorities, and we stayed true to that,” said PUMA skipper Ken Read. “We think we deserve this leg win, We’re proud of it, and we’re going to celebrate it for a bit then we’re going to get back to it for a bit and then we’re going to get back to work because there’s a lot more sailing to be done.”
Despite their inability to seize the Leg 5 title, Telefónica had reason to celebrate, finishing second after stopping for boat repairs early on and making up hundreds of miles of ocean. At one point, Telefónica was less than one mile behind PUMA.
Telefónica attributes its success to its off-board team members.
“Every leg has proven that you don't only need the best sailing team, but also the best shore crew and we have that, as they proved again,” said Telefónica skipper Iker Martinez.
Groupama and Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand remain at sea, vying for third-place points. With less than 150 miles until they cross the finish line, Groupama seems the clear victor. Camper, which has yet to round Cape Horn, is determined to end strong, by creating competition between itself and the freighter shipping Abu Dhabi’s Azzam, which like Sanya had to withdraw from the leg due to structural damage to its hull. Camper has about 2,500 miles to sail before it reaches the finish.