Saturday, 27 June 2009

VOR: PUMA's Leg Ten race Finale Starts Thursday

PUMA's leg ten race finale starts Thursday

by Kate Fairclough

The PUMA Ocean Racing team start the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race tomorrow, Thursday June 25. With a commanding 6.5 point lead over third placed team Telefonica Blue, PUMA aim to secure second place overall in the Volvo Ocean Race in this tenth and final leg of the 37,000 nautical mile round the world race. Starting at 14:00 local/12:00 GMT/06:00 EDT just outside the Stockholm archipelago in Sweden, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet will be racing just 400 miles up through the Baltic Sea to St Petersburg, Russia for the ultimate finale of the nine month race. The fleet is expected to arrive on Saturday, June 27 when the final result of this epic global adventure will be decided.

The PUMA Ocean Racing team, led by Skipper Ken Read (USA) have spent the past two days making final preparations for the leg ahead. Expected to take just under two days to complete, the team will first head east from Stockholm across the Baltic Sea, enter the Gulf of Finland between the coasts of Estonia and Finland, and race to a finish line at the fortified port of Kronstadt, 30 km from the city of St Petersburg, Russia. Justin Ferris will miss leg ten as he unexpectedly rushed home to be with his partner for the birth of their child. Jerry Kirby will step onboard as bowman for the leg, and Michi Muller moves from the bow to the position of trimmer/pit.

Skipper Ken Read (USA) commented: “What is important for us in this leg is to push our egos aside. Our goal in this leg is to secure second place overall in the Volvo Ocean Race. From our fans perspective – and I’ve never said this before in my life – please understand that winning this leg is not the most important thing for the PUMA Ocean Racing team. What is important is to come in second overall in the Volvo Ocean Race. We have a 6.5 point lead on Telefonica Blue right now, and there are eight points on offer in this leg. It’s important not to do something crazy and lose our healthy lead. If we take a chance, are unlucky or break down and come in last on this leg there’s a chance we could slip down, and that's something we have to prevent at all costs.

“We’re sailing better than everybody else right now. If we can continue to do that, everything should take care of itself. The forecast looks to be nice breeze for the first hundred or so miles and then getting lighter and lighter and lighter. It’s not a perfect scenario for us, the lighter it is, the more flukey it is, which could show some splits in the fleet. It could get a little weird towards the end going into St Petersburg which means that anything could happen. We’ll have to deal with that as it comes. We just have to stay rested, don’t get ourselves mentally and physically exhausted, and just keep doing what we are doing. We have an awesome team. Our performance over the past few legs has been spectacular. We have been first or second at the past five scoring opportunities [legs, scoring gates and In Port races] and we want to end this race on a high. That’s very important to me. We know we can do this.”

Leg ten is the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. The race finishes in St Petersburg on Saturday June 27, with the overall prizegiving for the race at 12:00 on Sunday June 28.

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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