Wednesday, 17 June 2009
PUMA's leg 9 finish off Stockholm. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.
by Rick Deppe
It’s now the day after. Our stunning win into Sandham was just brilliant and probably the best race I have ever been involved with. Hopefully the other players on the media team managed to take over coverage of the race in the final few hours as we battled with E3 into the finish. I was too busy to even leave the deck for a moment as I concentrated on shooting video of the fist fight going on between the two boats. Magnus and the boys clearly wanted a win coming into their homeport, and the tacking duel for the last ten miles into the finish was epic. Prior to that on the long reach up the coast, they came at us time after time trying to get by first to leeward then to windward. Erle Williams, fighting a bad cold, spent hours at the helm holding them off. No way would we change drivers while E3 kept coming at us. As Kenny remarked, “Erle has the hot hands when its crunch time.”
A massive effort by the Scandahooligans on E3 but it just wasn't going to happen for them yesterday. No team in the race is more identifiable with its homeport than those guys, but I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that it was fun to spoil the party. There, I said it! PUMA flat out deserved this one. I've been there for every mile that il mostro has sailed and know first hand what this crew has been through. Every man on this team wants to win and a string of seconds is okay, but just not good enough.
Thankfully no-one was hurt. Once ashore we got to see footage of the dramatic grounding which is simply amazing. As we sailed away from the scene just a few days ago, it looked from our perspective as though they might lose the boat. We play a dangerous game here and when the stakes are high you have to push the limits. When close racing around rocks there is little margin for error- leading the fleet in that situation is the worst place to be.
If this was car racing and one of the top teams wrecked a car, of course there would be some day after finger pointing and blaming, but life goes on and the team will very quickly re-group and come back for the leg race. Like the good team they are, Telefonica and the lads onboard will dust themselves down and come back at us with everything they have. We look forward to seeing them in a day or two and on the start line for the in port race this weekend.
I'm sure Si-Fi feels like hell, and that the weight of the world is on his shoulders. Some perspective. How must John Terry have felt missing that now infamous penalty in last years Champions League Final? My point, life and the game goes on. Dude, you're one of the best in out game- keep you're chin up.
Congrats to them. I think Capey said it the best to me the other day, "anyone can win when they show up well prepared in a really fast boat and sail brilliantly"!
PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race