Only three legs remain in the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race, as Leg 7 began May 21 from Miami. The six teams will sail 3,590 miles from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal.
Warm water currents of the Gulf Stream will help teams along, but the trick will be to decide when to leave the stream and sail toward Lisbon. And with the presence of tropical storm Alberto off the coast of the Carolinas, the next 24 hours are crucial in determining who will break away from the pack.
“A cold front associated with the low pressure will bring wind, allowing the teams to sail a much more direct route,” said weather expert Gonzalo Infante. “The door is definitely open—but timing is everything.”
Teams saw this increase in wind speeds as they approached the storm, with Groupama leading, followed by PUMA, Telefónica, CAMPER, Abu Dhabi and Team Sanya, who have returned to the race after missing the previous two legs due to a damaged rudder and hull.
After the in-port race in Miami, a mere 14 points separates the top four teams—Telefónica, Groupama, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, and PUMA Ocean Racing. Though out of the running for the overall title, Abu Dhabi has positive momentum going into Leg 7, after their third inshore race win.
Leg 7 is expected to last 11 days.
Photo courtesy of Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race