Team Telefónica are on the verge of victory as they close in on the Cape Town finish line.
The city’s iconic Table Mountain will soon be in view as the crew ticked off the final 60 miles to the finish of Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race. The team, led by Spain’s Olympic gold medallist Iker Martínez, were due to be greeted by the ‘Cape Doctor’, the strong south-easterly breeze that blows consistently in Cape Town.
See now the lifestream:
(Nov 26, 2011 @ 19:56)
Telefónica are due to arrive in Cape Town at 1700 UTC. The city’s V&A Waterfront was this afternoon getting ready to welcome the first of the Volvo Ocean Race teams into the first stopover port of the race.
Telefónica extended their lead over the fleet to more than 200nm overnight, reaping the benefits of navigator Andrew Cape’s flawless positioning in the final run of Leg 1. At the 1400 UTC report Telefónica had just 65nm to go.
Cape took Telefónica further south than their closest rivals CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, meaning they could ride an easterly-moving cold front for longer plus have a better angle on the finish line once the front swept over.
CAMPER, led by Chris Nicholson, had just under 280 left to sail at the 1400 UTC position report, with third-placed Groupama 890nm from the finish.
“Telefónica have romped away,” said CAMPER navigator Will Oxley, who predicts a Sunday morning arrival for his team. “They are well to the east in better conditions – they did a really good job. We’ve had to try to cut the corner a little bit trying to run away from a high pressure sitting to our west.”
With third place guaranteed, Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team saw their speeds halve from 20 knots over night after opting to take a slower but safer route to Cape Town.
“We don’t really look at the position reports any more,” their media crew member Yann Riou said. “The game now is to bring Groupama 4 as soon as possible and in the best condition possible to Cape Town. To rest, to look after the boat, to optimise her and to start the second leg.”