Cape Town welcomes il mostro
by Kate Fairclough
At 19:44 local (17:44 GMT) the PUMA Ocean Racing team crossed the finish line to take second place in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-9, on 2nd November. After 23 days at sea and a tough 6,500 nautical miles, Skipper Ken Read and his crew were welcomed by crowds of thousands at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa.
Sailing their final few miles through Table Bay as the sun was setting, PUMA’s il mostro was greeted with fireworks and champagne on the dock. The eleven crew stepped onto terra firma for the first time since the Volvo Ocean Race start in Spain a month ago, thrilled to be reunited with their families.
Having spent much of the leg locked in a match race with Ericsson 4, PUMA sailed a solid leg. Skipper Ken Read was pleased with their performance, meanwhile conscious that this is a ten leg race and there’s a long way to go yet. He commented: “Seeing that there was no such thing as PUMA Ocean Racing just over a year and a half ago, second place is great. I am very proud of our sailors and our team as a whole, from the boat builders and the design team, to the office staff. Getting here is pretty emotional, arriving here and seeing the family, a really nice welcome by Cape Town.”
“We’re very, very happy with our first leg and it’s a big relief to be here, knowing we have a great boat. I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights over the last year imagining what 37,000 miles of sailing round the world on a slow boat would be like. And we don’t have a slow boat. So now we’re in a boat race. And we’re good at boat racing. The guys on this boat were chosen because we’re good at it. So in this race, don’t count out the PUMA il mostro team, that’s for sure.”
“We had a few little issues; we had our primary water maker go down off Brazil - that was a little nerve-wracking. We actually talked about going into Brazil for a while, but Casey, using a bilge pump, put together a new water maker. We had a couple of little hydraulic problems, keel issues, but structurally, we think, the boats in good shape. We felt we were pushing hard, but clearly we have another gear shift we have to go to be up there with Ericsson 4. And we’re not going to stop until we find it.”
The Volvo Ocean Race is made up of ten legs, finishing in June 2009 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Leg Two to India starts from Cape Town on Saturday 15th November.
PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race