x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Second place excites crew as Azzam moves closer to Camper

Abu Dhabi Ocean Race is on its way from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami.

Skipper Ian Walker looks out over the rail, onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Nick Dana / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / Volvo Ocean Race
Skipper Ian Walker looks out over the rail, onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Nick Dana / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / Volvo Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Ocean racing were challenging for the lead in the Volvo Ocean Race tonight with Nick Dana, the media crew member, saying "Azzam is off like a rocket".

While the weather is expected to be unstable on Leg 5 from Brazil to Miami conditions today were ideal for the Abu Dhabi entry.

Azzam was just over one nautical mile behind Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand with Puma a 11 miles astern, followed by Telefonica and Groupama.

"Finally," said Dana in a blog from the boat. "Our first down wind start to this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, and the conditions couldn't be any better for the moment. Fast reaching, flat seas and warm water. … Azzam is off like a rocket."

He also sent a message to the shore crew for their "spectacular effort" in repairing Azzam's damaged hull and that "everything sounds and appears normal again down below".

"Hopefully a little bit of our bad fortune was cut out during the repair and we can have a crack at stirring up the leader board," he wrote.

The race to Miami is taking Puma to the team's home territory but Ken Read, the skipper, played down the importance of the destination. "I think the whole 'you have to win one for the hometown' is a little overblown and a little unrealistic -- we're always trying to win,'' Read said yesterday on the Volvo Ocean Race website.

"I can't say we're putting more importance on this one than any other, so for that reason it's really no different We have a bit of momentum right now. We have to first try to get back on the podium … That's important."

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