x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Volvo Ocean Race: Groupama win the home stretch

Franck Cammas and the Groupama crew draw a step closer to the Volvo Ocean Racing title with a home win at the in-port race in Bretagne. The final leg, to Galway, starts Sunday.

Franck Cammas, left, and his Groupama crew are a step closer to an overall win in the Volvo Ocean Race after taking the in-port race at their home port of Bretagne. The final leg of the round-the-world event starts Sunday when the fleet heads to Galway, Ireland.
Franck Cammas, left, and his Groupama crew are a step closer to an overall win in the Volvo Ocean Race after taking the in-port race at their home port of Bretagne. The final leg of the round-the-world event starts Sunday when the fleet heads to Galway, Ireland.

Groupama finished fast to snatch a home victory in the Bretagne In-Port Race on Saturday, taking a stride closer to an overall race victory, while Camper finished second to tie Puma at the top of the in-shore series.

Franck Cammas and his Groupama crew scored six points for winning, taking their total to 225 points, 25 ahead of their closest rival, Puma, with just one leg and one in-port to go.

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand led the race before losing the lead to the hometown boat shortly before the end.

Chris Nicholson's team scored five points, taking their total to 196 and their in-port tally to 39.

Puma held on to third place after second was snatched from their grip by a blunder with their jib.

Team Telefonica clawed back from last to finish fourth, followed by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in fifth and Team Sanya sixth.

"We snatched defeat from victory there, just the lay-line coming in on that last run," Nicholson said.

"We had a slightly different wind shift, Groupama hung in and were ready to pounce."

Camper led at the start in mild winds in Lorient's Port Foll, and the fleet split across the left and right sides on the upwind leg.

Nicholson's team made a perfect call on the lay-line thanks to the expert advice of the trimmer and world match-racing champion Adam Minoprio to hold their advantage and round the first mark in the lead.

Groupama rounded in second, followed by Puma, Sanya, Telefonica and Abu Dhabi, who continued to be punished for a late tack before the start.

Using aggressive tactics on the fast-paced second leg, Puma edged ahead of Groupama at the second mark before dropping back to third when the crew lost control of the jib sheet.

Camper continued to lead while Abu Dhabi were able to capitalise on a Telefonica's inshore weakness and move into fourth.

Sanya slumped to sixth.

The teams fought hard to make gains knowing that opportunities for scoring points are running out and the importance of each finish meant more than ever before.

After about an hour of racing, Camper looked like a certain victor, but the team were rolled by the locals, with Groupama claiming first by 13 seconds.

The final and shortest leg of the 2011/12 edition will start on Sunday when the teams begin the 550-nautical-mile sprint from Lorient in France to Galway on the west coast of Ireland at 3pm UAE time.

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