A CLOSE-fought battle from Brazil to Miami has set the scene for an epic tussle across the Atlantic in the Inmarsat-sponsored Volvo Ocean Race.
Puma's Leg 6 victory in Miami gave them a second consecutive win, edging them within two points of Camper in overall third.
This meant that points scored during the in-port race in Miami on 19 May were crucial for all the top contenders as only 17 points separated the top four.
“We could be the dark horses here,” said Puma's skipper Ken Read.
“We could make life hard for the other boats. They know we're here right now, I can guarantee that.”
The value of Inmarsat FleetBroadband was highlighted once more after Ken by chance met the captain of the Zim Monaco, a merchant vessel that came to Puma's aid when its mast broke during leg one, during the previous race stopover in Brazil.
Ken recounted in a live radio interview, beamed back via Inmarsat FleetBroadband en route to Miami, how the Zim Monaco's crew had been tracking Puma's progress closely on video ever since.
Meanwhile, the team placed third, Camper, has yet to record a leg victory despite all their hard work. A determined skipper Chris Nicholson believes the race is now wide open.
Telefónica may be leading the fleet in points overall, but Nicholson attributes this to an amazing run early on in conditions that were “right up their alley”.
Nicholson is looking forward to the transatlantic leg where he expects to take advantage of “some good hard running where the boats and crew will be tested to the max once again”.