• 20-FEB-2012

  • SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race

Fleet Restarts Leg 4 to Auckland

"Overall leaders Team Telefónica slowly led the fleet out of Sanya on the Leg 4 pursuit race to Auckland early on Monday and into what is expected to be hugely challenging conditions and testing tactical maneuvers.

Less than 24 hours after the six teams completed the 43-nautical mile Leg 4 Stage 1 coastal race and locked in their staggered start times, the crews were dockside in the dawn gloom and departing without the usual fanfare.
The boats crept rather than raced out of the southern Chinese port with barely a breath of wind under leaden, heavily overcast skies.

The Spanish team departed to little more than a "C'mon Team Telefónica" from navigator Andrew Cape and applause from the shore crew before starting at 0700 local time on Monday (2300 GMT).

Groupama sailing team were second off the line, starting two minutes and 32 seconds after Telefónica. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were third to kick off, followed by Team Sanya and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand.

A sombre-looking Ken Read appeared dockside once most of the fleet had departed with his PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG setting off 39 minutes and 17 seconds after Telefónica following a calamitous stage one performance when his boat was overtaken by the entire fleet having grabbed a big early lead.

The pursuit start was part of race management's decision to split the leg into two stages to mitigate the risk of potentially boat-breaking conditions - - 40 knot winds and eight metre waves in the South China Sea."


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