Yachting: Telefonica to stop for repairs

Team Telefonica are the third team to suffer damage in the latest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo / Paul Todd-Volvo Ocean Race
Team Telefonica are the third team to suffer damage in the latest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo / Paul Todd-Volvo Ocean Race

The Southern Ocean reminded everyone who's boss, with overall leaders Telefonica confirming overnight (NZT) they will make a pitstop in Argentina to repair their damaged bow.

Four of the six boats in the Volvo Ocean Race have now suffered damage on the 6700-mile fifth leg from Auckland to Itajai, leaving only Groupama and Puma, who are duking it out for the lead, to race at full speed.

Volvo Ocean Race tracker

Full speed in the Southern Ocean, however, is as fast as they can push the boat without it suffering severe damage. Wind gusts of more than 45 knots and seas of up to 6m are battering the fleet and survival is the priority.

Amazingly, Abu Dhabi, who are 1426 behind leaders Groupama after being forced to turn back and make repairs in Auckland early in the leg, are eyeing a podium finish with both Camper and Telefonica due to make repairs.

Team Sanya returned to New Zealand a few days ago with a broken rudder and will rejoin the race on the seventh leg from Miami.

Camper are making slow progress towards Puerto Montt in Chile. They expect to be at sea for another eight days before landing in Chile for repairs and will probably remain there for five or six days before heading for Itajai in Brazil.

"We still have a bit under 2000 miles to travel and you can still see a lot of bad weather in that time,'' Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said. "Weather wise, you can just call this a hostile part of the world with regards to the severity of the weather fronts and we have got to keep this in mind.

"It's a big expanse of water. Hopefully everything goes according to plan.''

Telefonica also plan to complete the leg after they repair damage to their bow in the Argentine port of Ushuaia. The Spanish entry announced several days ago they were slowing down to prevent further damage and skipper Iker Martinez confirmed today that delamination to the bow, sustained when a huge wave crashed down on them last week, would make a stop necessary before the finish line in Itajai in Brazil.

"As you can see, we've got no problems in terms of continuing to sail, but if we continue to violently crash against the waves like this the damage could worsen and we want to rule out the possibility of that happening,'' he said.

- APNZ

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