SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Fleet Underway to Miami in Leg 6 of Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
After a six-leg inshore course off Itajaí's coast, PUMA were followed around the final mark by Team Telefónica, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Groupama sailing team.
The five teams are in hot-pursuit of the maximum 30 points, which could prove vital as overall leaders Telefónica hold just a 16-point lead over second-placed Groupama with four legs to go.
The fleet will face more moderate conditions than those encountered in previous leg starts, with about 14 knots from the southeast creating perfect reaching conditions for the opening hours. The weather is expected to intensify as the crews near the South Brazil Bight, where a violent low-pressure system with wind in excess of 30 knots awaits.
There are plenty of other weather obstacles littering the course from Itajaí including tropical weather systems, strong currents and the dreaded Doldrums. A tricky transition from the low-pressure system into the south-southeast trade winds will also be crucial.
Five boats were at the start line in Brazil, with Chinese-entry Team Sanya missing as they are being transferred to the United States via commercial ship due to a broken rudder last month.
Four of the other five boats needed significant repairs over the past weeks in order to prepare for Sunday's start but incredible around-the-clock work by of the team shore crews in Brazil had all the boats ready for an exciting two week race to Miami. Boats are estimated to arrive around May 6 into Miami, Florida. The race last stopped in Miami a decade ago in the 2001-02 edition.