April 04, 2012

ITAJAI, Brazil (AP) -- French boat Groupama has broken its mast, ruining its chances for a likely victory in the fifth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and forcing the crew to head to port for repairs.

Race organizers said Wednesday that Groupama looked set for a second straight leg victory when the top of its mast snapped in heavy upwind sailing 650 nautical miles and two days' sailing away from the finish in Itajai, Brazil.

The boat will head to Punta del Este in Uruguay for repairs, leaving chief rivals Puma and Telefonica to fight for the stage win. Groupama hopes to travel to Itajai after getting a new mast and could still finish third in the leg. Three other teams have already been forced to suspend sailing because of damage to their boats.

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