Miami, Florida, USA – American skipper Ken Read led his PUMA Ocean Racing team to a second consecutive leg win on Wednesday in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, arriving on home soil in Miami triumphant following an epic 18-day match race with closest rivals CAMPER to confirm they are back in contention for overall victory.
Since the heartbreak of the first leg, in which they were robbed of a result when their yacht’s mast broke, PUMA have been on the rise – and after scoring their first offshore success in Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil, they made it two in a row in Leg 6.
After winning an intense battle for first place with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, who at one point closed the gap to less than a mile, Read was excited about his team’s performance as they are now back in the hunt for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 trophy.
"That was about as stressful as it can get, believe me," Read said. "It was touch and go, and the guys on CAMPER sailed very well, but I couldn't be more proud of our team -- they did an unbelievably great job."
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crossed the finish line at 18:14:00 UTC (2:14pm local), 18 days after leaving from Itajaí, Brazil, with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand around an hour behind PUMA and on course to take second.
PUMA dominated the 4,800 nautical mile leg from the start, only surrendering the lead on two occasions to CAMPER and for no more than 48 hours.
A fast start to the leg in fresh conditions saw PUMA lead out of Itajaí and into several days of fast sailing up the Brazilian coast.
As winds eased the fleet split into three groups, with CAMPER and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing closest to the shore enjoying two days at the head of the pack, while Team Telefónica and Groupama sailing team opted to head east in search of better breeze. PUMA split the difference and it paid as they got a jump on their rivals that would lay the foundations for their eventual win.
It’s the fourth time in six legs that PUMA have finished on the podium, and they pick up an invaluable 30 points for the leg win to take their overall tally to 147.
CAMPER were awarded 25 points for second place, their best result in the offshore series since Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi when they finished second behind Team Telefónica.
"It's been a long leg and PUMA have sailed very nicely, they have defended very well, but I think we have attacked well too," CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson said as his team closed in on the finish line. "I'm pretty happy with how it's gone. We're in better shape now for the next leg."
Both teams will close the gap on overall leaders Telefónica, who were still scrapping it out for the final podium position with Groupama sailing team Wednesday night into Miami. [NOTE: VNR footage available on FTP later]
The teams will be in action again on May 18 in the Pro-Am Race, May 19 in the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race and the start of the Leg 7 to Lisbon, Portugal on May 20.
VNR SHOTLIST #1 – PUMA CLINCH LEG 6 VNR
00:00 - 00:05 OPEN SLATE
00:05 - 00:40 PUMA aerials
00:40 - 00:53 PUMA crew celebrating on-board
00:58 - 01:08 CAMPER aerials
01:08 - 01:18 PUMA arriving dockside
01:18 - 01:23 crowd shots
01:23 - 01:33 PUMA crew at dockside
01:33 - 01:39 PUMA crew with family
01:39 - 01:45 Skipper Ken Read with family
01:45 - 02:00 crew with family & friends
02:00 - 02:11 band music
02:11 - 02:16 crowds
02:16 - 02:39 prize giving ceremony & champagne celebration
02:39 - 02:44 SLATE – Ken Read Quote
02:44 - 03:07 Quote – Ken Read, PUMA Ocean Racing, Skipper
“This is big. This is really huge for us - we kind of feel like we’re back in the regatta. We needed something like this to happen… the way this is stacking up. There were so many times we could have blown this race and the guys just refused to. It’s a huge credit to them. We’ve come a long way. This is a big, big deal for us. We’re going to be celebrating tonight, believe me, I can guarantee you."
03:07 - 03:12 END SLATE
Source: Volvo Ocean Race