by Kate Fairclough
The PUMA Ocean Racing team today finished the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 in second place overall. Having led the fleet right from the start of leg ten, which took the team 400 miles from Stockholm, Sweden to St Petersburg, Russia, PUMA lost out to Telefonica Black in a tight battle for victory in the final few minutes, crossing the line just a few boat lengths behind in second place. After over 37,000 nautical miles of racing and 143 days at sea in one of the world’s toughest sporting events, the PUMA Ocean Racing team were thrilled to reach St Petersburg and finish the race in second place overall, an outstanding achievement.
Leg ten, the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 took PUMA just 37 hours to complete, sailing east from the coast of Sweden to St Petersburg, at the head of the Gulf of Finland. Beginning the leg in 15 knots of wind, PUMA led from the very start and ended the leg in a tight match race with Telefonica Black in lighter breeze just off the fortified port of Kronstadt at 04:42 local (00:42 GMT/20:42 June 26 EDT). After a parade up the Neva River into the beautiful city of St Petersburg crowded by spectators, PUMA’s il mostro will this afternoon dock in the race village at the historic St Peter and Paul Fortress.
The PUMA Ocean Racing team has shown an extraordinary level of seamanship, courage and competitive spirit throughout the Volvo Ocean Race. A round the world adventure that has taken in eleven ports in ten countries, the PUMA team have raced their hearts out around the globe. Each leg of the race brought intense weather conditions, crazy boat speeds, navigation of dangerous seas and uncharted waters, broken equipment and even injuries onboard. Performing very consistently throughout the race, the team, which was announced only six months before the race began in Alicante, Spain in October 2008 have finished eight of ten legs on the podium, with a win in leg nine, as well as achieving podium finishes in six of seven In Port races.
Speaking upon his arrival in St Petersburg, Skipper Ken Read (USA) commented: “We’ve just sailed around the world! Hats off to Telefonica Black. Congratulations to all those guys, they’ve worked hard for their first leg win. We finished very strongly even if we were nipped by them at the end this morning. In the last bunch of legs we’ve been the best boat with a streak of firsts and seconds. No other boat in the race has done that. It’s a good way to finish up and nice proof that we have something good with our amazing team and our beautiful boat.”
“The big picture is that we finished the Volvo Ocean Race in second place, everyone is safe and the boat has been spectacular. We have a lot to be proud of, this whole team; the sailors, the shore team, everyone behind the scenes like the boat designers and of course everyone at PUMA. Our team is ending on an incredibly high note. We’re on a roll right now, so in a way it’s a bit of a shame that we’re ending. But at the same time, we have reached our goal: to be successful in this race.”
“I can’t believe that this unbelievable adventure of a lifetime is over; it’s the end of an era for us. We’re all feeling relieved, glad that we have accomplished our goals, but in a way also really sad. We are hugely indebted to all of our team’s friends, fans and relatives. This race is the absolute best event in sailing. Let the celebrations begin because all of PUMA Ocean Racing deserves it!”
PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race