Sunday, 24 May 2009

VOR: PUMA Fights Back to Finish Incredible Second in Galway

PUMA celebrates second in Galway. Image copyrighy Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

by Bridgid Murphy

Fighting back to finish in an almost inconceivable second place after breaking their rudder mid-way across the Atlantic Ocean, PUMA crossed the finish line of leg seven of the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway, Ireland at 02:19 local (01:19 GMT) this morning. Pulling back from last place two nights ago after breaking one of the boat’s two rudders and having to stop to make emergency repairs 1,000 miles west of Ireland, the PUMA team were elated, finishing just two minutes ahead of hometown Irish team, Green Dragon. Arriving at the dock in Galway Harbour to a euphoric cheering crowd and with only 38 minutes separating second to sixth place, the atmosphere in Galway was incredible.

The 3am crowd in Galway. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

Skipper Ken Read (USA) commented on the dock in Galway: “This is as good as it gets. That was some of the best sailing we have ever done. To come back into second place after breaking the rudder like that, this crew is unbelievable. What an amazing reception here in Galway! It’s three in the morning for crying out loud and the crowds are huge. I have never witnessed anything like this – we are stunned!”

“I don’t even know how many miles we were in last place by when we broke the rudder, so this is like winning a gold medal to me. I don’t know if any of us have ever pushed a boat as hard as we pushed it after we broke the rudder out there on Thursday night. I have to admit, this is the greatest race result I have ever had in sailing, that wasn’t actually a race win. We even had guys hanging in the water to get the rudder fixed at one point. It’s almost like adversity is our challenge. The legs in which we have broken something big are the legs in which we have thrived – first breaking our boom on the way to China, and now the rudder coming in here. I couldn’t be more proud of this team, this is unbelievable.”

“One of the wild things about this race is the contrast between leaving the dock in one port, racing, and coming in. They couldn’t be three more different feelings, and sets of emotions. This typifies it. After what we did in that leg, it’s an emotional time. This is really cool, a really good day.”

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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