Puma struck by debris in Volvo Ocean

SANYA, China -- American boat Puma received a warning of the dangers ahead after being hit by unidentified debris near the Malacca Strait, the most hazardous stretch of water the boats will face in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Before the leading challengers had weaved through the hundreds of commercial ships and tiny unlit fishing vessels on Friday, Puma reported a significant scare.

Puma's Amory Ross says "we had distant lightning, several 22-plus knot squalls and a solid thud of something hitting one of the daggerboards."

Only five nautical miles separates leaders Telefonica, Camper, Groupama and Puma after more than 1,000 miles racing since leaving the Maldives on Sunday.

The boats are due to arrive at the Chinese port of Sanya on Feb. 5 or 6.