Groupama’s relatively conservative approach to Tropical Storm Alberto was paying huge dividends on Monday evening as the French team emerged fully in control of the fleet with a near 50-mile lead and a two-knot speed advantage.
Rather than head for the stronger winds close to the centre of the storm, Franck Cammas’ crew timed a turn east to perfection ahead of the rest of the fleet – and what a move it was proving to be as they turned the smallest of advantages into a comfortable lead.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, winners of the last two legs, took a more northerly route but shortly after 1600 UTC were forced to tack back to the southeast to get out of the worst of the weather.
While overall leaders Telefónica and the CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand took a middle path that looked set to keep them safely on the fringes of the storm, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Sanya were forced to make a big detour to escape the worst.
At the 1900 UTC position report CAMPER were up to second, with PUMA and Telefónica falling into line just a few miles behind.
Worst hit were Abu Dhabi and Sanya, who fell back to 68 miles and 87 miles behind respectively.