Abu Dhabi wins Volvo Ocean Race's Leg 7 (ADD1)
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First Groupama and then Telef?nica enjoyed the lead for long spells on a leg that started out looking like a fast, direct sprint across the Atlantic before the effects of Tropical Storm Alberto altered things drastically.
One by one, the boats were forced to head ever further north towards the ice exclusion zone.
Abu Dhabi moved into the lead on Day 6 and after briefly surrendering it to CAMPER they were back ahead the following day.
Two days later they were clear, though skipper Ian Walker warned repeatedly that a light-air zone inside the final 300 nautical miles would see the fleet compress.
That's exactly how it turned out, with Abu Dhabi forced to scrap every step of the way to an emotional victory at the team's second home.
"It came down to the wire, and we certainly had our ups and downs, but we are very happy," said Groupama skipper Franck Cammas. "it was a good operation for us!" Third place for PUMA kept them in contention for the overall lead, 12 points behind new leaders Groupama.
"This is a great result," said the team's American skipper Ken Read. "There's still a lot of points on the board and to be on the podium is a big deal for us." The battle between Telef?nica and CAMPER for fourth and fifth came down to a slow-motion tussle over an excruciating final few miles, with no breeze and the current against them.
Telef?nica eventually finished with an advantage of 102 seconds and less than a boat length for a five-point boost that could yet prove crucial.
The action resumes with the In-Port Race on June 9, followed by the start of Leg 8 to Lorient the following day.
Leg 7 results are: 1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - 11d, 04h, 23m, 54s 2. Groupama sailing team - 11d, 04h, 29m, 21s 3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG - 11d, 06h, 26m, 52s 4. Team Telef?nica - 11d, 08h, 28m, 27s 5. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand - 11d, 08h, 30m, 09s 6. Team Sanya - 11d, 08h, 44m, 25s WAM/MMYS