Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Delta Lloyd, skippered by Roberto Bermudez (ESP) finish sixth on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston, crossing the finish line at 10:10:29 GMT 27/04/09. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Yvo Janssen and Diana Bogaards
Team Delta Lloyd (NED) lost the final sprint for fifth position in the last few hours of leg six. With the finish being in sight, Telefonica Black slipped past the Dutch entry. In the early morning of April 27 at 6:10 AM local time, the Dutch VO70 crossed the line in the Boston harbor, shortly after a colorful sunrise. The gap to the Spaniards was only 22 minutes. Despite the disappointment, skipper Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (ESP) and his crew showed satisfaction with their performance over the past (almost) sixteen days.
After a slow start, Team Delta Lloyd held on to the second/third position for a couple of days. It was third to cross the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha. In the concluding stage of this leg, it had a fierce battle with Telefonica Black for the fifth spot.
"Our main goal was to finish in Boston, not in last place and after a good fight with the fleet. We succeeded", said Bermúdez de Castro (ESP) on the dock. "The guys worked hard and it is most important that we fought until the end." Bermúdez de Castro about the biggest improvement: "It is the effort of the whole team. The shore crew did a fantastic job, the boat was good and we didn't damage anything. I think it was the Delta Lloyd herself that showed the best performance."
Battle for fifth place
Going into the night, the NED 1 was just ahead of the Spanish VO70. The two of them swopped positions a couple of times. Navigator Wouter Verbraak (NED) explains: "Yesterday was hard. There was not much pressure and two winds were battling it out. We had the choice between staying in the old breeze or picking up the new one. Telefonica Black opted for continuing in the old wind a bit longer and we set course to the coast, but unfortunately the new pressure did not fill in on time. As a result, Telefonica Black passed us slowly. However, the biggest blow was at the last waypoint of the exclusion zone, where we hit a wind hole and consequently lost fifteen miles. After this, we couldn't hold them anymore."
Boat captain and watch leader Nick Bice (AUS) entered Team Delta Lloyd in Rio de Janeiro/Brazil. Despite his late arrival, he knows the Delta Lloyd very well, as he did the same job for Team ABN AMRO in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race. Bice on the jetty in Boston: "I am extremely happy with the boat. She got here in one piece and we don't have to rush to lift her out first to fix any damage. There are only a few minor things to do. It is the first leg that has been incident free with the Delta Lloyd. Chuny (skipper) has done a fantastic job, the way he put the team together. This is one of the most enjoyable crews that I have sailed with."
Dutch bowman Gerd-Jan Poortman about missing out on the fifth place: "Finishing sixth is disappointing. Especially because we have managed to stay ahead of them for two weeks. We deserved that fifth position." But Poortman was also positive about the team's development: "We are very close. In the past, you had the Russians followed by us. There was a considerable gap between them and the rest of the fleet. We have closed that gap, which is good. The new guys are true professionals, which lifted the whole crew to a higher level."
Bice added: "We know we did fight as hard as we could, so it might go the other way around in the next leg. We will see what happens."
Finish sixth leg:
1. SWE - Ericsson 4, Torben Grael (BRA)
2. SWE - Ericsson 3, Magnus Olsson (SWE)
3. ESP - Telefonica Blue, Bouwe Bekking (NED)
4. USA - Puma Racing, Ken Read (USA)
5. ESP - Telefonica Black, Fernando Echavarri (ESP)
6. NED - Delta Lloyd, Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (ESP)
7. IRL - Green Dragon, Ian Walker (GBR)
In addition to title sponsor Delta Lloyd, the Dutch/Irish syndicate is also supported by Chieftain Group, Tommy Hilfiger, OHRA Verzekeringen, Port of Rotterdam, Discovery Channel, Weather News and Hemels van der Hart.
Team Delta Lloyd
Volvo Ocean Race