Our weekly look at the last few days of the Volvo Ocean Race in pictures and video

Puma skipper Ken Read set an
ambitious goal at the start of leg 6, and is managing to stick to it – so far.

TAKING LEAVE: Puma skipper Ken Read shakes hands with local
dignitaries before the start of leg 6.

The American boldly said as
the fleet set out from Itajai to Miami: 
“We want to be leading this race from start to
finish. So far so good, but we have a long, long way to go.”

BOATS: Greats boats, great sailors, great sailing – the stuff that dreams are
made of.

But as the leg
entered its 11th day, the leading trio could have been covered by a
mainsail as Camper moved to within a mile of leaders Puma, with overall race
leader Telefonica just three miles back.

BLAST OFF: The fleet of Volvo Open 70’s blast away from the start line of leg 6

Camper overtook
Telefonica overnight to move closer to Puma than any team since the fleet left
Brazil, and skipper Chris Nicholson said: “We managed to quietly slip around Telefónica
during the night previous and managed to close right up to Puma who had been on
our starboard horizon all day, slowly getting bigger and bigger.

 “The next three days are looking like
good fast trade wind sailing, so hopefully we can keep in the mix until the
last 1,000 miles where anything is going to likely happen.

SPANISH MAIN: Team Telefonica,
skippered by Iker Martinez, rounds a mark.

Read was under no
illusions towards the fact that the race is extremely tight so far.

He said: “At one
point it seemed like Camper were about a mile and half away, I don’t know if
they were really that close but their light was awful bright right next to us.

POWER PLAY: Abu Dhabi Ocean
Racing skippered by Ian Walker from the UK blasts through the waves

“That was our
30-mile advantage gone. That gives you an idea of how tight it is and how big
the yo-yo swings are.”

race is to be first to the Trade winds, consistent and favourable breezes that
will see the boats rocket north-west towards Miami at speeds into the 20s.SAIL AWAY: Bowman Brad Marsh
from New Zealand takes down a sail, onboard Groupama

first to pick up the Trade winds could get a priceless jump on their rivals as
the fight for the smallest of advantages continues.

miles behind the leading trio, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Groupama sailing team
were locked in their own battle for fourth and fifth.

Telefonica Media
crew member Diego Fructoso was grudging towards the winds that Camper found to
overhaul them.

WATCHING YOU: Puma skipper Ken Read tracks
Camper’s progress using a hand-bearing compass.

He said: “Camper
had more wind than us, which seems difficult since we had no less than 12 knots
onboard Telefónica. But they had some clouds on windward, which pushed them a

 ‘Truth is, it’s a very desperate
situation. You can see the importance of these moments onboard – you can either
escape or get stuck while the others go.’

WATCHING ME: Camper’s Stu Bannatyne returns the
complement by keeping watch on Puma.

Fourth and fifth
placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Groupama are in their own mini battle as
Groupama have managed to cut the fourth placed team’s lead to just 12 miles,
and Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker seems to be feeling the heat.

“Groupama have us a little
freaked out,” he fretted. ‘They have been coming back strong over the past few
days and continue to have good scheds.

Camper are doggin Puma all the way, while Abu Dhabi and Groupama jockey for

‘We definitely have our eye on
the horizon behind us.’

The team that are giving the
fourth placed team restless nights have positivity on board, with their media
crew member Yann Riou explaining.FIRMLY IN CHARGE: Groupama skipper Franck Cammas
takes the helm.

‘The longer and more twisted
the leg, the more chances we’ll have of making up ground on our rivals.’

At the tail end of the race
Sanya have again been unable to finish the leg, needing to tend to damage sustained
to the rudder in the fifth leg, and a crack they have sustained on the hull.

Main photo: Helming onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG in heavy Southern
Ocean weather, during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from
Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. Courtesy Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean
Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.