PUMA’s American skipper Ken Read enjoyed a glorious homecoming and a second consecutive leg win on Wednesday after an intense match race with close rivals CAMPER that has thrown the overall race wide open.
Read’s men crossed the Miami finish line at 1414 local time, 1814 UTC, with a lead of around five nautical miles over CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, who gave them a real scare over a fraught final 24 hours and at one point closed to within just 0.6 nm.
CAMPER crossed the finish line for second place just over an hour later,
PUMA’s valiant defence of their long-held lead, which they lost just briefly to CAMPER early in the 4,800 nm race from Itajaí, Brazil, has earned them 30 points and confirms them ass serious trophy contenders with 147 overall.
“This is unbelievable,’’ Read said just minutes after crossing the line in the company of about 100 spectator boats. “It’s great to be back in the United States, actually we’ve been to Miami before in this boat, so this marks our complete circumnavigation.
“It was touch and go, the guys on CAMPER sailed very well, but I couldn’t be more proud of our team, they did an unbelievably great job.”
It is the fourth podum finish in six legs for PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and confirms a major fightback since the team’s devastating retirement from Leg 1 with a broken mast.
CAMPER’s second place earned them 25 points, taking their total to 149 points.
Skipper Chris Nicholson complimented his competitors on a hard fought victory against his team who are gaining form ahead of Leg 7.
“It’s been a long leg and PUMA have sailed very nicely, they have defended very well, but I think we have attacked well too,’’ he said. “I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone. We’re in better shape now for the next leg.”
The finish marks a major shift on the overall race leader board that threatens Team Telefónica’s grip, with their 16-point lead set to decrease by at least one, but potentially five points.
The Spanish team are still on the race track tussling with Groupama sailing team for the remaining podium finish, with an ETA of 0300 UTC. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are expected at about 0800 UTC on Thursday.