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A traditional route followed by the lonely warriors

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As night fell on the fleet, Groupama 4 was nowhere to be seen. While the three other boats racing in leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race clung to each other as if attached by elastic, Franck Cammas and his team are, as Ken Read from PUMA’s Mar Mostro puts it, ‘lonely warriors heading the traditional trade route’. They are sailing their own race only four and a half nautical miles (nm) off the Moroccan coast, 96 nm inshore of the rest of the fleet. “Still pretty amazing, “ Read writes. “A split in the fleet with 39,000 miles to go.”

Meanwhile, it is game on for the main group, led by Telefónica (Iker Martinez/ESP. The Spanish boat has PUMA’s Mar Mostro moulded to her hip as the three westerly boats continue their upwind slog at an average speed of 12 knots. The newcomers onboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro – Rome Kirby and Amory Ross - are both wondering if they will be going upwind the whole way round the world.

Although Chris Nicholson (NZL) has now placed the red and white CAMPER back on the track he wanted after sacrificing miles earlier today in his bid to head west, he is still playing catchup. CAMPER is 17.30 nm behind Telefónica who holds on to first place just 2.8 nm ahead of PUMA’s Ma Mostro. Average speeds for the boats in the west are around 12 knots, while third-placed Groupama 4 is only managing 9.3.

It’s not over yet. Finding a quick route through the Doldrums will be required before the champagne sailing can begin.

Volvo Ocean Race Route  2011- 2012

Last modified on Friday, 11 November 2011 13:25