PUMA stormed down the course to come from behind and collect five points, finishing 22 seconds back from winner and overall leader Groupama Sailing Team.
“This was a big one for us today – a great comeback, and it’s always good to end a race on such a high note,” said skipper Ken Read. “This is a team full of unbelievable boat handlers, and we battled back from a tough spot. There can be a lot of weirdness out on the water, and when you’re racing in tight quarters, it can be easy to make mistakes. We hung in there. Plus, that was a lot of fun today – I bet for the crowd it was an unbelievable race to watch.”
Sailing downwind on the Tagus River, gybing down the course and under the 25th of April Bridge on the first leg, PUMA rounded the first mark in the fourth position, 31 seconds behind leading Groupama. After a last-minute decision to go around the opposite gate at mark 2, PUMA began to narrow the gap on the leaders. On the third leg, PUMA ran along the city side of the course and moved ahead of CAMPER into second after a solid downwind leg. The course was shortened and PUMA’s Mar Mostro and crew held on to finish second.
With the additional five points, PUMA moves only five points behind second-place Team Telefónica in the overall standings. The win for Groupama extended their lead to eight points ahead of Telefónica and 13 in front of PUMA.
“There’s still a lot of racing left,” said Read. “We’ll just keep doing what we think is the right thing as we go into this next leg and hopefully good things will happen.”
On Sunday, Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient, France, begins. Only two legs and two In-Port Races remain in this year’s race. Leg start is at 13:00 local/12:00 UTC and will be streamed live online at www.volvooceanrace.com and on the live section of the Volvo Ocean Race YouTube channel: youtube.com/volvooceanracevideos. Streaming begins five minutes before the 10-minute warning signal. Also visit www.volvooceanrace.com for complete television broadcast information in local markets.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race