Groupama sailing team claimed a dramatic Leg 4 victory last Saturday after the discovery of a hole in their bow threatened to sink their lead within 100 miles of the Auckland finish.
The French team rallied in eight metre seas and 30 knot headwinds to
isolate the leak and drain 1.5 tonnes of water before crossing the
finish line at 10:33:47 UTC/23:33:47 local, more than 80 nautical miles
ahead of their nearest competitor.
"It's a great day for Groupama 4 and it's a great to arrive here first into Auckland,'' Cammas said. "I'm pretty sure we're going to have a good time here with all the sailing fans. It's a good place to win for sure."
Cammas, a first time Volvo Ocean Race competitor, said the race was won
and lost on a bold decision made by navigator Jean-Luc Nélias.
"The key thing for this leg was to be quick and to make good decisions,"
he said. "We knew we had to do both of those things and we did. This
is where we ended up. The turning point in the leg was when we made a very bold call with
PUMA in the north and it paid off. That was the decisive moment."
Winning the unofficial race to be the first Kiwi home was elated bowman
Brad Marsh who flew a New Zealand flag overhead as the team were
welcomed to Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour by hundreds of family, friends
“It feels amazing,” the 28-year-old Aucklander said. "It’s a childhood
dream for me. I didn’t allow myself to think about winning up until
today. But the excitement set in as we came down the coast and I
realised it was all going to happen."
Groupama have stymied Team Telefónica’s winning streak of three
consecutive leg wins and claimed 30 points that will shoot them to the
top of the leaderboard with a total of 103.
This victory allows French crew of Groupama 4 to gain a place in the
overall standing and therefore to take the second place behind team Spanish Telefonica.
And of course on the wrist of Franck Cammas since he left Alicante, Spain on November
4th, is his trusty Diverscope from the Swiss watchmaker JeanRichard.
The gruelling round the world race with will end in Galway, Ireland on July 7th 2012.