Our weekly look at the Volvo race in pictures and video as the fleet smokes its way to Lorient
The top three teams remained locked in a colossal battle for the overall crown in leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean. Telefonica, Groupama and PUMA are all jostling for first place in both leg 8, and the overall standings as the fleet heads from Lisbon to the Breton port of Lorient.
ANGLE OF ATTACK: The fleet head around the island of Sao Miguel before a sleigh ride to the Breton port of Lorient.
So tight is the race that Telefonica rounded the way-mark of Sao Miguel island in the Azores on Wednesday morning just three minutes ahead of overall leader Groupama.
Groupama (189pts) inched further away from Telefonica (181) after a disastrous performance from the Spanish team in the Oeiras in-shore race, prior to the start of Leg 8.
While Franck Cammas guided Groupama to victory and six vital points in the in-shore race, Iker Martinez’s Telefonica finished last and picked up just one point after being forced to make a penalty turn.
HANDS-ON MANAGEMENT: Groupama skipper Franck Cammas takes the wheel.
EYES ON THE PRIZE: Telefonica’s crew stare intently at the horizon as Groupama close in.
Puma finished second in the in-shore race to stay in touch (176pts) with the leading pair with two ocean-going legs and two in-shore races to go.
Whilst the intensity of the competition hasn’t dropped the pace has, due to a light wind zone, throwing the advantage back in the way of Telefonica.
Groupama’s navigator Jean-Luc Nelias explained why that was.
POWER SHOWER: Groupama crew member Martin Krite on the bow.
WATCHING BRIEF: Camper skipper Chris Nicholson (right) and crew member Nick Burridge keep an eye on Puma on the horizon.
‘’The wind dropped down and we now are in very light winds,” he said. “We are 50 metres away from Telefónica, we can see PUMA and on the horizon we can also see Abu Dhabi and CAMPER.”
‘’Our speed advantage over on Telefónica has reduced as the wind got lighter — we were faster yesterday in stronger winds,” Nelias emphasised. ‘’We managed to equal their speed last night but slowed down a bit today.”
STAYING IN TOUCH: Camper are clinging on to the coat tails of the leaders with two ocean-going legs and two inshore races to go.
PROWLING PUMA: The big cat of Puma powers through the waves en route to Lorient.
And so whilst the two at the top try to push ahead, PUMA skipper Ken Read is hoping that will favour his team’s boat as they reach the crucial stage of the competition.
‘’So far the three of us have been glued to each other the entire leg, but hopefully these guys up ahead get caught up with each other and take their eye off us for a little while, we’ll see,” said Read.
FROM A DISTANCE: Abu Dhabi keeps tabs on Puma and Camper.
GAME BOYS: Back markers Sanya are determined to keep going and keep their pride intact.
CAMPER, who are only ten points off third, will be looking to finish in the podium positions.
But the fleet are heading for a large Atlantic depression, packing winds of 40mph en route to Lorient, which could again re-draw the picture at the top
ENCOUNTERS: The finish of the Volvo Ocean Race promises to be the closest in
the race’s 39-year history.