Friday, 6 February 2009

VOR: Telefonica Black Heads for Rio

Telefonica Black moored in Subic Bay, Luzon Island, Philippines, after retiring from leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race with structural damage. She is now back in Singapore. Image copyright Mikel Pasabant/Telefonica Black/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Riath Al-Samarrai

Pedro Campos, the CEO of the Telefonica campaign, has confirmed the Black boat will not return to the track until the Rio de Janeiro in-port race.

The boat suffered serious damage on the leg four passage from Singapore, cracking their hull after a week at sea before ultimately retiring in the Philippines.

Initially the team was silent on their chances of making it to Qingdao for the February 14 leg five start, but now, after sailing the boat back to Singapore, the syndicate has revealed its intention to send Black to Brazil by ship early in March.

“The security of the crew is the first thing we are thinking about,” Campos said. “We know that the crew would like to cross Cape Horn but security is the first priority.”

According to a team statement, the boat will now be loaded onto a container ship in the “coming days” to be transported to the port of Sepetiba, in Rio. The boat will then be moved to the race port. A replacement component for the damaged hull is being built at Alginet ship yard in Valencia.

Campos added: “After the arrival in Rio, half of the points will still be available in the race. The objective of the team is to try to win the coming legs and the next in-port racing. The second objective is to give to the Spanish crew the maximum experience of high level ocean racing.

“Our idea is to have the boat in Brazil in the early days of March to be 100 per cent ready for the in-port race.”

The move is likely to have implications on the team’s battle with Ericsson 3 for fifth place. The Nordic crew currently hold fifth and a three-point cushion on the Black boat, but intend to complete leg four and enter the points-rich fifth stage.

Volvo Ocean Race

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