At 1800 GMT on Thursday, 14 June, and after fixing the broken starboard rudder, Telefónica regained the lead of Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient. As the expected wind shift arrived, around 2000 GMT, Telefónica were the first to gybe, followed by Groupama.
Leading the fleet, and with less than 300 miles to Lorient, the Spanish boat landed awkwardly off a huge wave in a seething seaway and suffered damage to the port rudder as well as a breakage in the spare starboard rudder fitted as a replacement on Thursday afternoon. Fortunately, the single effective rudder is the port one needed to sail on starboard gybe towards Lorient.
"It's the first time that something like this has happened to me and it will be difficult to accept, but I'll have to worry about that once we reach land and any risk is over. I can't say much more for now. It's a sad day for Telefónica and tomorrow is my birthday. It's the right moment, then, to ask as a present that we are all on land safely," the skipper said.
Meanwhile, the race goes on and the new leaders Groupama have changed from survival to racing mode again as they hoist more canvas and fend off attacks from both CAMPER with Emirates Team new Zealand CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS).
At 0600 GMT, the breeze had dropped to 35 knots although the waves are still big enough to careen down with only a semblance of control. With 117 nm to go to the finish, Groupama lead PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read/USA) by 24.3 nm. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) are just under a mile astern. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) are in fourth place 28.2 nm adrift of Groupama, while Telefónica have slipped to fifth place, now 78.5 nm behind. Completing the fleet is Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson/NZL) who are 139 nm in arrears.