Fleet nears record breaking speeds
It is all about speed! The top quartet of Telefónica, PUMA, Groupama and CAMPER have notched more than 500 nautical miles in the past 24 hours, and there’s still plenty of racetrack left for the teams to break the IWC Schaffhausen 24-hour record.
The North-Atlantic storm has ramped up the fleet to near record breaking speeds overnight with the top four teams each notching more than 500 nautical miles in the past 24 hours, but it is Team Telefónica who continue to have an edge.
The massive low pressure system hasn’t disappointed, delivering winds in excess of 40 knots that have tested the boats and crews as they slipped into survival mode overnight.
But while fighting to survive the top four of Telefónica, PUMA, Groupama and CAMPER have been pushing themselves to the brink in a bid to earn vital points that could ultimately decide the entire race, with just 23 points separating them on the overall leaderboard.
“Without a doubt this leg will be won by they boat who can find the right balance between pushing and boat conservation, and with the top four boats so close, we really could see anything happen,” Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson said.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, current holders of the IWC Schaffhausen 24-hour record for the race, continued to stamp their authority as the fastest boat on the track racking up the top 24-hour distance with 514.2 nautical miles and an average of 21.4 knots.
Telefónica followed closely behind with 513.3, followed by Groupama, 512.4 and PUMA with 512.2, while Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Sanya are yet to crack the 500 mark, with plenty of runway still to go.
At 0400 UTC just eight nautical miles separated the leading four boats, with just over 600 nm remaining until the finish at Lorient, France.
Telefónica held a narrow six nautical mile lead over PUMA, but Groupama are looking threatening in third place having clawed back some of the miles they lost yesterday when their mainsail jammed and the team dropped to fourth place.
CAMPER are in fourth place followed by Abu Dhabi and Team Sanya.
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