PUMA’s Mar Mostro is off across the Atlantic Ocean with the start of Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Miami, Florida, USA to Lisbon, Portugal. The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crew rounded the buoys in Miami to complete the six-leg inshore loop and headed out for the offshore portion of the leg in the fifth position, with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leading the fleet.
“It’s very emotional leaving,” said skipper Ken Read. “It’s not often you get to come to North America and put on a good show and promote our sport. And it wasn’t just people from around South Florida, I’ve met people from all over this country here. It’s tough to leave, but at the same time we have a job to do.”
The 3,590 nautical mile Leg 7 is expected to take the boats approximately 11 days to complete. The fleet will travel up the Florida coastline before heading east.
“It will be quite light this first afternoon and into tonight, but I think the first boat into the pressure from this tropical storm could have quite a big advantage,” said navigator Tom Addis. “Tropical Storm Alberto is the source of pressure to get us north, so it is important to try to feed into that pressure first. We’ll be playing around the edge of that system – it’s quite small and slow moving, so it should be fairly easy to manage. Overall, it looks like pretty good downwind sailing and a reasonably fast leg, which we always enjoy on these boats. There’s a good chance we won’t be extreme north as well, so hopefully it won’t be too cold.”
Leg 7 marks the second transatlantic crossing for PUMA’s Mar Mostro. The team first departed U.S. waters on July 3, 2011, with the start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 from Newport, Rhode Island, to Lizard Point, Cornwall, U.K. Their first trip across the Atlantic Ocean was successful as they notched wins in both IRC Class 1 and IRC Overall of the race.
The original PUMA crew is back in tact for the first time since Leg 4. Casey Smith (Brisbane, Australia), who missed Leg 6 due to a lower back injury, returned for Saturday’s PORTMIAMI In-Port Race and is ready for Leg 7. Kelvin Harrap (Napier, New Zealand) was back onboard for Leg 6 after missing the Southern Ocean journey with carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms as well as bursitis in his elbow.