Leading to Lorient

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The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crew won the start and led the fleet around the inshore course for the start of the penultimate leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 on Sunday.

Leg 8 will take the fleet approximately 1,900 miles, out from Lisbon, Portugal, around the Azores and in to Lorient, France.

“It looks like we’re going to have some good conditions over the next few days and get to Lorient pretty quick,” said skipper Ken Read. “This is the time in the race you have to get a little lucky with what conditions suit your boat best. So, we’re probably going to need a little bit of help in the tight reaching stuff ahead, and hopefully in the power running after the Azores we can do some damage.”

PUMA led off the line down the first leg of the inshore portion of Leg 8 and sailed along the city side of the Tagus River, under the 25th of April Bridge to the first mark. PUMA’s Mar Mostro remained in front of the fleet around Mark 1 and 1:08 ahead of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand. The crew maintained their lead as they went back down the river, past the final two turning marks and headed out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Based on the latest forecast, the leg could take around six days to complete. The route will send the fleet northwest into the Atlantic around the archipelago of the Azores and on to Lorient.

“We’re just concentrating on the leg out at the moment,” said navigator Tom Addis. “We’ve got a pretty big uncertainty around the Azores where it could get quite light. So, we expect some good reaching out there, light around the corner and then it’s looking like a really fast trip home.”

PUMA has 176 overall points in the race and is currently in third place in the standings with two legs and two In-Port Races remaining on the schedule. The Groupama Sailing Team holds the top spot with 189 points, while Team Telefónica is second at 181.


Photo: Mark Bow/Volvo Ocean Race