PUMA crossed the line at 12:43:04 UTC/14:43:04 local in Lorient, France, on Friday to finish the penultimate leg from Lisbon, Portugal, in 5 days, 43 minutes and 4 seconds. The Groupama Sailing Team won the leg into their home port with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in second.
“It’s bittersweet,” said skipper Ken Read. “We didn’t sail our best leg and we made a few mistakes at the wrong time in this race. We did keep it close, like we always do, and getting on the podium is always a great result. We also gained one place in the standings. But we may have seen the opportunity to win this race start to slip away. Groupama sailed fast and smart, and that’s a deadly combination – they deserve a lot of credit and have continued to get better each leg.”
The 1,900 nautical mile leg from Lisbon to Lorient first took the fleet northwest into the Atlantic Ocean. PUMA traveled through the waypoint and around the archipelago of the Azores where they were greeted in the early morning hours by dedicated fans. After making the turn, the downwind stretch saw wet, windy conditions and record 24-hour distance marks for this year’s race. The fleet remained in a tight race to the finish, and PUMA crossed the line only 13 minutes back from CAMPER.
“It wasn’t a very tactical leg – it was basically a one tack, one gybe race in 2,000 miles – and just a drag race. But it was tough, and our wheels just weren’t quite big enough,” said navigator Tom Addis. “We were always struggling with speed, but we kept in there with consistency and not breaking down. We’re happy with third.”
With the third-place finish, PUMA collected 20 points and moved ahead of Team Telefónica into second place in the overall race standings. The Groupama Sailing Team holds the top spot with 219 points. Two In-Port Races and one leg remain in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race. The boats return to racing with the Pro-Am Race in Lorient on June 29, the In-Port Race on June 30 and the start of the final leg to Galway, Ireland, on July 1.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race