Saturday, 27 June 2009

VOR: PUMA lead the fleet out of Stockholm in Volvo Ocean Race finale

PUMA cannot be beaten to second place overall

by Kate Fairclough

PUMA today led the seven boat Volvo Ocean Race fleet out of Sweden at the start of leg ten from Stockholm, Sweden to St Petersburg, Russia; the final stage of the round the world race. All the PUMA Ocean Racing team must do to confirm second place overall in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 is finish this leg, in any position. Storming round a short course just outside the Stockholm archipelago in 15 knots of wind, the PUMA team led the fleet from the start, rounding two buoys amongst a huge spectator fleet before heading out into the Baltic Sea en route to St Petersburg, 400 miles to the east.

Currently holding a 6.5 point lead over third placed team Telefonica Blue, with a maximum of eight points on offer in this leg, no matter which position the PUMA Ocean Racing team finish in this final leg, it is not mathematically possible for any team in the seven boat fleet to finish ahead of PUMA in the overall standings. The PUMA team have nothing to lose and are gunning for another podium finish into St Petersburg after their recent strong score line. PUMA are on a roll, having won their first offshore leg into Stockholm ten days ago as well as excelling in the recent In Port races.

Skipper Ken Read (USA) commented on the dock early this morning: “We just have to finish this leg to get second overall. This leg, the pressure is off. We just have to get points for finishing so that we get second overall, and be really, really proud of that. If we come in to St Petersburg in seventh place, we’ll get two points for finishing the leg. If Telefonica Blue win the leg, they’ll get eight points. That’s a differential of six points. But we already have a 6.5 point lead on them. We get to go sailing, have fun, enjoy being with our buddies for the last time and go try to win a boat race.”

“Of course we would like to win the leg. If we were playing checkers here on the dock it would be a blood match. With all of these sailors on these boats, it’s all about the competition. Whether second overall is at stake or not anymore - which it isn’t, for all practical purposes - we still wanna go win the leg. That’s what we do; it’s what we’re trained to do.”

“It’s shocking that this is the last leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. It seems like only two weeks ago we were in Alicante, Spain, with this enormous thing ahead of us, and it was really difficult to comprehend. Here we are now at the end, almost 37,000 miles later. I can’t believe it, it’s actually stunning. I don’t think it’ll hit us until well after the finish. We’re excited to get this over with but it will be emotional. You start looking around at your team mates thinking ‘this is the last time the team will be together…’ As we’re constituted right now, this is the last send off we will have as a group. Stockholm has been spectacular, the PUMA team have had a great stopover here, but we’re ready to get this done.”

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 local on Sunday June 28.

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

No comments: