Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Plough To Another victory (PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)
As Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing cemented their reputation as formidable in-port contenders and took six points for the victory in the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race, French team Groupama scored a valuable five, taking them to 158 overall, just seven points back of overall leaders Team Telefónica.

In an incredible finish, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG finished third by edging out CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand within metres of the finish line, to finish just nine seconds ahead.

Team Sanya finished fifth to score two points, while Team Telefónica scored just one point for sixth place, making them wide open to attacks from their opponents on the overall leaderboard with 165 points.

PUMA and Sanya led off the line followed closely by Groupama and Abu Dhabi who opted for self-confident port-start with speed, leaving CAMPER struggling under a smaller jib, raising questions of a problem.

On the first beat parallel to Miami Beach it was Telefónica who stamped their intent early, picking a near perfect lay-line and leading around the top mark. Abu Dhabi rounded just six seconds behind, followed by Groupama, Sanya, CAMPER and PUMA, who struggled on to hold course.

Groupama made their move under spinnaker, rolling Abu Dhabi by the second mark in the 10 to 15 knot breeze. The French team continued their charge on a short and sharp reach to take the lead, followed by Telefónica, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, CAMPER and PUMA, just one minute and 20 seconds behind.

Telefónica continued to struggle and were overtaken by Abu Dhabi, who took second place on the third leg. In a desperate bid Telefónica and CAMPER made a bold split from the fleet, heading offshore as the breeze continued to moderate.

The move proved a major fail, costing Telefónica another position, with Sanya edging ahead into third place at the fifth mark. Meanwhile, Franck Cammas’ men continued their domination extending their lead over Ian Walker’s crew to almost one minute.

As spinnakers were again popped on leg 6 positions came under threat and intensified at the congested mark rounding, where Telefónica were forced to do a penalty turn for hitting the mark.

After a quick-fire short reach, Groupama solidified their lead, followed by Abu Dhabi, while the remainder of the fleet continued a messy scrap. But the race wasn’t over yet, as the breeze lightened a shortened course was called and Abu Dhabi took the lead and held it to the end.

The sailors and shore crews are now turning their sights on the final preparations for Sunday’s 3,500 nautical mile Leg 7 race from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal.

PORTMIAMI In-Port Race results:
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 74:09 6 points
2. Groupama sailing team, +00:33 5 points
3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, +02:02 4 points
4. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, +02:11 3 points
5. Team Sanya, +2:35 2 points
6. Team Telefónica, +6:28 1 point

Overall Race Leaderboard:
1. Team Telefónica – 165 pts
2. Groupama Sailing Team – 158 pts
3. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand – 152 pts
4. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG – 151 pts
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 74 pts
6. Team Sanya – 27 pts

SOURCE: sailing.org

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