Camper and Telefonica in chase for Volvo lead

Camper and Telefonica in chase for Volvo lead

Camper and Telefonica in chase for Volvo lead

Telefonica sails at the start of leg two of the event as the boats leave Cape Town. AP photo

Spanish team Telefonica was reeling leg two Volvo Ocean Race pacesetters Camper back in yesterday, halving its lead as the pair enjoyed a Christmas Day battle for points at the top of the leaderboard.

Telefonica, the overall leader, was only 12 nautical miles behind Camper after a night of sharp, rain showers and high waves in the Indian Ocean.

The five-strong fleet, with France’s Groupama third, Puma fourth and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing bringing up the rear, are all nearing a secret stop-off location in the Indian Ocean from where they will be shipped to a restart position off the Northern Emirates coast near Sharjah.

They will complete the Cape Town-Abu Dhabi second leg early in the New Year.

The unprecedented security measures were taken to ward off the threat of an attack by pirates who have menaced shipping in the East African region of the Indian Race.

All the boats mentioned Christmas in their messages home early yesterday but Camper’s Hamish Hooper emphasized a concentration on the key job in hand.

If the team retains the lead into the secret stop-off location, it will earn 24 points and snatch a slim overall advantage over Telefonica.

“It’s Christmas Day on board Camper and unfortunately for the guys there isn’t a huge amount of energy to be put into it,” he said.

“Not that they don’t want to, they have all been up throughout the entire night frantically working our way through squall after squall in what turned out to be some very hard and bumpy conditions.

“The finish line is getting closer, and all everyone onboard Camper really cares about for Christmas is crossing it before any other boat does. Then there will be time to celebrate.”

The Volvo Ocean Race, reckoned to be the toughest professional test in the sport, lasts over eight months and more than 39,000 nautical miles, visiting 10 countries on five continents.