Saturday, 4 April 2009

VOR: PUMA Revved Up and Ready for Rio In-Port Race

Il Mostro preparing to re-enter the water in Rio. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

by Kate Fairclough

The PUMA Ocean Racing team are revved up for the Rio de Janeiro In Port race, which will take place tomorrow in Guanabara Bay, Brazil. The start gun of the fourth In Port race day of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 will be fired at 13:00 local/16:00 GMT/12:00 EDT on Saturday April 4. Two short, 50 minute races will be raced just off Maria da Gloria, with the bay providing a wonderful natural amphitheatre for spectators. Currently lying in second place overall in the Volvo Ocean Race, the PUMA team will be racing for precious points. Reinaldo Conrad, Brazil’s first ever Olympic sailing medallist and five time Olympian, will sail onboard as PUMA’s special guest.

Following a well-deserved break after an exhausting 41 day leg from China to Rio, the PUMA Ocean Racing team were back out on the water today preparing for the In Port race. A maximum of four points can be earned from the In Port race day, which could make a big difference in the overall standings of the race. Regular In Port race crew Shannon Falcone (ANT) and Andrew Taylor (NZL) join the PUMA Ocean Racing team for the In Port racing. In addition, Kimo Worthington (USA) and Joe Fanelli (USA) are set to bolster the crew for the day, allowing Erle Williams (NZL) and Michi Mueller (GER) a few extra days rest before the start of leg six from Rio de Janeiro to Boston, USA next Saturday, 11th April.

Working on the rudders. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

Sailing onboard il mostro for the In Port race will be PUMA’s Ocean Racing team of Ken Read, Skipper; Andrew Cape, Navigator; Justin Ferris, Trimmer; Sidney Gavignet, Trimmer; Jerry Kirby, Bowman; Kimo Worthington, Main; Joe Fanelli, Grinder/Sewer; Rob Greenhalgh, Tactician; Rob Salthouse, Pit; Casey Smith, Bowman; Shannon Falcone, Trimmer/Pit and Andrew Taylor, Grinder. Rick Deppe, PUMA’s Media Specialist will also be on board providing a live video stream straight from the boat, which can be viewed at in real time on race day.

Skipper Ken Read (USA) commented: “We in the PUMA team always look forward to each of the in port races that we do around the world. After the long offshore legs, it’s a nice change of pace, we get back to our roots a little bit. We’re really hoping for a good sea breeze tomorrow, to make it an exciting contest out there in Guanabara Bay. If we get some good breeze, it will make for quite a spectacle – great for the people of Rio who will have a great view of the racing. If we don’t get a good sea breeze, it could make for a long hard day.”

Polishing Il Mostro's hull. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

“We’ve done our homework to try to work out some of the intricacies of Guanabara Bay – every place we go in the world we tap into some of the top local sailors, and sit down with them to go through some scenarios and get some local knowledge before we go racing. The other big thing to consider in these short in port races is that boat handling is super important. These boats are animals and you really need an extra ten people to be able to crew them effectively. Being so under-crewed in a boat designed for long offshore legs, with sails designed for going offshore, is always hard.”

“It’s great to have the rest of the fleet back. With Torben Grael sailing in his home town we’ll have one eye on Ericsson 4, but the other eye up the course, trying to win the boat race.”

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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