Digging deep in the last 48 hours, the French Groupama team won its second leg in the Volvo round the world race, extended its overall lead, and enjoyed the especially sweet achievement of being first into its home port of Lorient in south Brittany.
The 2,000-mile leg around the Azores from Lisbon had been tricky but Franck Cammas had been in the lead with about 500 miles to go when a problem reducing the area of the mainsail in the same heavy conditions that have also been battering Britain cost him two hours.
But the joy of grabbing the lead for the previous race leader, Telefónica, proved short-lived for Iker Martinez and his largely Spanish crew as they were hit by rudder damage, completed a repair, and then saw the other rudder damaged to leave them trailing.
Taking over in second was Kenny Read’s American yacht Puma but, a race best run of 565 miles in 24 hours saw the second Spanish entry, the New Zealand-managed Camper, power through for its best result in the eight legs so far.
Fourth was Britain’s Ian Walker at the helm of Abu Dhabi’s Azzam , winner of leg seven from Miami to Lisbon, with Telefónica still holding off the Chinese entry, Sanya, skippered by Mike Sanderson.
That should leave Groupama with a 23-point lead over Puma and both Camper and Telefónica sharing third place, a further five points behind with a maximum 42 points remaining from two inshore races and the final leg to Galway.