MIAMI // Puma were holding onto a slender lead in leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race as three teams were battling it out off the north-eastern coast of Brazil on Sunday afternoon.
Ken Read, the 50-year-old American skipper of Puma, took the boat in front in the stage from Brazil to Miami.
But the crew were unable to shake off their nearest pursuers Camper and Spain's overall race leaders Telefonica and, at 2pm UAE time, the span between the three was just 12 nautical miles.
With just over 3,000 nautical miles still to race through the Caribbean and up to Florida that amounted to a paper-thin advantage.
Nevertheless, Read was enjoying the lead in fast conditions after the traumas of leg 5 around Cape Horn, which left all but his Puma boat needing pit-stops for repairs.
"I can't get used to it after leg 5," he said.
"No thrashing, bashing, soaking, freezing, boiling, upwind hate mission. Maybe I am dreaming. So I pinch myself and sure enough this is reality. And we are doing all right as well."
Overall standings: 1 Telefonica (ESP) 149 points, 2 Groupama (FRA) 133, 3 Camper (NZL/ESP) 124, 4 Puma (USA) 117, 5 Abu Dhabi (UAE) 58, 6 Team Sanya (CHN) 25
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