Fleet is expected to arrive Wednesday in Miami
May 06, 2012 (Menafn - The Miami Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The five boats in the Volvo Ocean Race that left Itajai, Brazil, two weeks ago were expected to arrive in Miami on Sunday -- to be greeted by family and friends, shore crew and partying South Floridians at the downtown race village.
But Sunday's 10 a.m. opening of the multimedia interactive pavilions and other festivities at Bicentennial Park will go on without them -- except for the anticipated awards ceremony on the main stage.
With about 800 nautical miles left to the Leg 6 finish, the fleet is not expected to dock here until Wednesday.
Hometown favorite PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG has been leading the fleet for the entire leg, but often not by much. On Saturday evening, the American team led by skipper Ken Read overcame light winds, increasing speed to about 15 knots and pulling more than 27 nautical miles ahead of runner-up CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand. Overall race leader Team Telefonica was less than a mile behind CAMPER.
Bringing up the rear, losing even more ground to the lead pack was Groupama, trailing by more than 100 nautical miles, and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, more than 20 miles behind Groupama.
The crew of Abu Dhabi reported they had just about run out of food, and were relying mostly on a stash of energy bars.
Still, Read and Co. are loathe to declare victory in this leg, concerned about fickle winds they might encounter as they approach the Turks & Caicos Islands, and later the Bahamas before crossing the strong, north current of the Gulf Stream to reach Miami.
"Right now, all bets are off," Read said Saturday. "There is a serious game of roulette going on out here. This is going to be a battle right to the very end. When can we relax? When we are throwing ropes to the guys on the dock and not before."
The sixth boat entered in the Volvo, Team Sanya, is making good progress on repairs to damage sustained in the notorious fifth leg from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai. The crew of Sanya hopes to sail from the shipyard in Savannah, Ga., to Miami in time for an in-port race May 19.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of activities for race enthusiasts awaiting the arrival of the Volvo Open 70s.
Stand-up paddleboard lessons will be conducted all day Sunday. On Monday, there will be sailing lessons and an appearance by PUMA mascot Marmo to host children's games and other activities. On Tuesday, attendees can learn to sail and use stand-up paddleboards. On Wednesday, organizers hope to celebrate the arriving racers.
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