Volvo leaders Groupama fear distraction
French skipper Franck Cammas has warned his Groupama team they will have to show improved levels of concentration in Saturday's Lisbon in-port race if they are to take their hard-won lead in the Volvo Ocean Race into the penultimate offshore leg.
Cammas is concerned his crew are being distracted by the tight battle for overall honours in the race, with Groupama just three points ahead of Spanish rivals Telefonica at the top of the standings and two other teams within 21 points of the lead.
The first of five remaining points-scoring opportunities is on Saturday in the 60-minute race along the Tagus River in Lisbon before the fleet set off on the week-long race to Lorient – Groupama's home port – on Sunday.
"We're lacking concentration at the moment," Cammas said after the team returned to the water for practice.
"Each manoeuvre has to be finished before we start the next one and we shouldn't be thinking and looking at the other boats. It's often our problem."
Telefonica have a lot to prove after finishing last in the past two in-port races because of juvenile errors – taking a wrong turn on the course in Brazil before hitting a buoy in Miami.
Their slump has been extended to the more valuable offshore legs, with the team that won the first three legs failing to finish on the podium in the past two.
"We try to always remember what our goal is," said skipper Iker Martínez, an Olympic gold medallist in 2004 who is gunning for another in the London Games less than a month after the Volvo race ends in July.
"That goal is to be in with a chance going into the final leg. We just have to keep on pushing. We have to sail a little bit better than we did on the last two legs and we have to be a little bit better with the results."
The 39 000 nautical mile eight-month ocean marathon is scheduled to finish on July 7 in Galway, Ireland.
1 Groupama (FRA) 183 points
2 Telefónica (ESP) 180
3 Puma (USA) 171
4 Camper (ESP/NZL) 162
5 Abu Dhabi (UAE) 104
6 Team Sanya (CHN) 32