by Diana Bogaards
In the early morning of Saturday June 27, Team Delta Lloyd (NED) finished the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 with the heads held high. Just before 7 am local time (GMT +4), skipper Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (ESP) sailed the Delta Lloyd for the last time across the line off the Russian coast of St. Petersburg. The Dutch entry lost the sixth place in leg ten to Green Dragon in the final nautical miles. Despite the seventh position on the overall leader board, the goals set for this campaign have been achieved.
"We have been able to create a team that can compete with the best in the world", said Bermúdez de Castro. "We have to remember that we only commenced a month before the start in A licante, so I am happy with our results. I learned a lot from my first experience as skipper in the Volvo Ocean Race. I was a watch leader before, but this takes more. It has made me a more complete sailor. We have made a good job and everybody enjoyed it."
With the finish in sight, a big shower above the Russian mainland faded the wind away. There was still some pressure at the left side of the bay, so that resulted in short tacks in that area. Campaign Director Tom Touber (NED) reports: "The R1 had to be replaced by the Code zero. The breeze was only about 5 knots strong and the Green Dragon came closer at every tack. They overtook Delta Lloyd with 1,5 mile to go." However, the bitter after taste disappeared quickly due to the real Dutch croquettes. Touber: "We prepared a box with 'important stuff for the Delta Lloyd' on board of the sea-going tug Holland and asked the Russian police to bring it to the bo at, which they did without asking questions. That is how the typical Dutch snack creates international furore."
Touber looks back on the Dutch campaign with satisfaction: "We had to catch up in the first couple of months until Taiwan. We were always a little bit behind schedule. The substantial damage to the bow became the changing moment. As of that time, we were on or ahead of schedule. The second half of this edition was like any other Volvo Ocean Race." The Delta Lloyd sailors fought with the rest of the fleet, despite their older VO70. Touber: "That is why they sometimes had to take risks. The two podium positions at the In-Port Races of Rio and Boston, as well as the third place at the scoring gate of Fernando de Noronha were a reward for all the hard working. Those moments can be called special, like the many good position reports and close finishes with winning competitors."
According to Touber, Team Delta Lloyd's participation caused several gains: "For the Volvo Ocean Race it is important that we have shown that a second hand VO70 can be competitive. This may result in a larger fleet in the next edition. Another significant gain is the fact that offshore sailing by Dutchmen is still on the map. We gave five Dutchmen and one Belgian sailor a change, which is a doubling from Team ABN AMRO in 2005-06. In addition, the attention for the VOR in the Netherlands has grown significantly. That is crucial for the business support and the interest of two Dutch cities to host a stopover in the next race."
Touber emphasizes Team Delta Lloyd's focus: "The media approach was totally focused on the Netherlands and therefore it was more a Dutch campaign then Team ABN AMRO was. We serviced the public with a Dutch team website, press releases and real life series on the national television."
Delta Lloyd has not taken a dec ision about participation in 2011 yet, but the biggest water sports sponsor in the Netherlands is very satisfied with the results of this race.
Overall leader board Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 (provisional):
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 114.5 points
2. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 105.5 points
3. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 98.0 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 78.5 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 67.0 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP): 58.0 points
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 41.5 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points
Team Delta Lloyd
Volvo Ocean Race