PUMA second overall with two legs remaining
PUMA arriving in Marstrand. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Kate Fairclough
In a dramatic finish to an intense five day leg from Galway, Ireland to Marstrand, Sweden, PUMA finished leg eight of the Volvo Ocean Race in second place at 05:04:46 local (03:04:46 GMT) this morning. The PUMA team staged an incredible comeback in the final 24 hours of the leg, crossing the line less than a minute ahead of third placed Green Dragon in yet another incredibly close finish. With two legs of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 remaining, second place in leg eight moves the PUMA Ocean Racing team into second place overall.
PUMA reaches Marstrand. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.
After falling back to seventh place on Tuesday night having destroyed one of their key sails and being caught in the light winds of a low pressure system, the PUMA team were thrilled to finish second. Skipper Ken Read (USA) attributed the comeback to the decisions of navigator Andrew Cape (AUS) and the hard-willed determination of the eleven man team. Welcomed by a flotilla of spectator boats in the early morning light and with hundreds of spectators crowding the rocky shores of the island of Marstrand, the team celebrated on stage before heading off for some well-deserved sleep.
Kenny Read before stepping off the boat. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.
Skipper Ken Read (USA) commented: “I am so proud of this team, and I give Andrew Cape (AUS) a ton of credit. 24 hours ago we had all the reason to quit in this leg, things looked really bad. The centre of the low had gobbled us up far to the east of where we thought it was, our running kite was destroyed and the fleet was literally sailing away from us; we thought we had really screwed it up. But Capey (Andrew Cape) refused to quit, he said ‘you know what, we can either follow them in or we can try to do something about it’. Our Plan B was to sail through a gale to get to the northerly winds that got us back in the fleet…and it worked. We’re a happy, exhausted crew, and I can’t tell you how much they all mean to me. The idea of quitting does not exist in this team. It seems that when something goes wrong, it brings out the best in us. The toll this kind of racing takes on you both physically and mentally is unreal. I can't thank the team enough for their determination and desire. I am very proud of this team. Very proud.”
Rob Greenhalgh does the champagne honours. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.
The PUMA team will now spend the next three days in Marstrand, Sweden, the only Pitstop of the race. By race rules, no members of the shore team are allowed onboard the boat during this stopover. Any maintenance must be carried out by the sailors themselves. Leg nine starts at 13:00 local (11:00 GMT/07:00 EDT) on Sunday 14th June.
PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race