Saturday 4 April 2009

VOR: PUMA Revved Up and Ready for Rio In-Port Race

Il Mostro preparing to re-enter the water in Rio. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

by Kate Fairclough

The PUMA Ocean Racing team are revved up for the Rio de Janeiro In Port race, which will take place tomorrow in Guanabara Bay, Brazil. The start gun of the fourth In Port race day of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 will be fired at 13:00 local/16:00 GMT/12:00 EDT on Saturday April 4. Two short, 50 minute races will be raced just off Maria da Gloria, with the bay providing a wonderful natural amphitheatre for spectators. Currently lying in second place overall in the Volvo Ocean Race, the PUMA team will be racing for precious points. Reinaldo Conrad, Brazil’s first ever Olympic sailing medallist and five time Olympian, will sail onboard as PUMA’s special guest.

Following a well-deserved break after an exhausting 41 day leg from China to Rio, the PUMA Ocean Racing team were back out on the water today preparing for the In Port race. A maximum of four points can be earned from the In Port race day, which could make a big difference in the overall standings of the race. Regular In Port race crew Shannon Falcone (ANT) and Andrew Taylor (NZL) join the PUMA Ocean Racing team for the In Port racing. In addition, Kimo Worthington (USA) and Joe Fanelli (USA) are set to bolster the crew for the day, allowing Erle Williams (NZL) and Michi Mueller (GER) a few extra days rest before the start of leg six from Rio de Janeiro to Boston, USA next Saturday, 11th April.

Working on the rudders. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

Sailing onboard il mostro for the In Port race will be PUMA’s Ocean Racing team of Ken Read, Skipper; Andrew Cape, Navigator; Justin Ferris, Trimmer; Sidney Gavignet, Trimmer; Jerry Kirby, Bowman; Kimo Worthington, Main; Joe Fanelli, Grinder/Sewer; Rob Greenhalgh, Tactician; Rob Salthouse, Pit; Casey Smith, Bowman; Shannon Falcone, Trimmer/Pit and Andrew Taylor, Grinder. Rick Deppe, PUMA’s Media Specialist will also be on board providing a live video stream straight from the boat, which can be viewed at in real time on race day.

Skipper Ken Read (USA) commented: “We in the PUMA team always look forward to each of the in port races that we do around the world. After the long offshore legs, it’s a nice change of pace, we get back to our roots a little bit. We’re really hoping for a good sea breeze tomorrow, to make it an exciting contest out there in Guanabara Bay. If we get some good breeze, it will make for quite a spectacle – great for the people of Rio who will have a great view of the racing. If we don’t get a good sea breeze, it could make for a long hard day.”

Polishing Il Mostro's hull. Image copyright Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.

“We’ve done our homework to try to work out some of the intricacies of Guanabara Bay – every place we go in the world we tap into some of the top local sailors, and sit down with them to go through some scenarios and get some local knowledge before we go racing. The other big thing to consider in these short in port races is that boat handling is super important. These boats are animals and you really need an extra ten people to be able to crew them effectively. Being so under-crewed in a boat designed for long offshore legs, with sails designed for going offshore, is always hard.”

“It’s great to have the rest of the fleet back. With Torben Grael sailing in his home town we’ll have one eye on Ericsson 4, but the other eye up the course, trying to win the boat race.”

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Ready for Racing in Rio

The seven skippers share a laugh at the Press Conference ahead of the 'Light In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race'. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Raith Al-Samarrai

He smiled and laughed, but played down what appears to be a significant advantage. If Torben Grael is confident about racing in his backyard tomorrow then he did a good job of hiding it this afternoon.

A lot has been made of his apparent edge when the fleet enters Guanabara Bay, the tricky stretch of water where he spent many days, weeks and years training en route to becoming the sailing's most decorated Olympian.

It is an area he admits is complicated, with a current so strong at times it was considered a river by early Portuguese explorers. But rather than over emphasising the importance of the local knowledge he shares with Joao Signorini, a native of Rio de Janeiro, he believes the ‘Light In-Port Race' will be won by the crew that best handle their boat.

"I don't think there is a favourite," he said. "It's not an easy place to sail normally. For tomorrow we're going to have an ebbing tide which should make it a little easier. But it's still unpredictable.

"It's not an easy place with the same pattern every day...This is kind of a complicated place normally. We're sailing with extremely fast boats on a very short course so boat handling is going to be more important than where you go on the race course."

That said, his team must be considered the one to beat with an inshore track record of two wins and a fourth from the three in-port races so far. And whatever the significance, local knowledge is an advantage at any race course.

As PUMA skipper Ken Read said: "I think it's up to us as teams to do our homework and figure out the intricacies of the bay. We have to go and try to teach the master his own game. It's not easy sailing against somebody who's sailed so much time in area."

But, as told by Telefonica Blue's inshore skipper, Iker Martinez, it could all be academic. "These races can be won by anyone, whoever is best on the day," he said. "The course is short and the boats are big so the manoeuvres are the most important thing. Whoever gets a good start has a very good chance.

"If I had to race against Torben in Rio, I would choose to do it in a Volvo Open 70. This short race in these boats is about the start and manoeuvres. I would not like to race him here in a Star boat."

To that end, Read and PUMA have, with the exception of Qingdao, made a habit of good starts. Read was in confident mood. "We always feel confident going into the day races, it's in our comfort zone. We didn't do well in China, but that was a bit of a fluky day. I think everyone is in the same boat with regard to rest. I saw the guys last night for the first time in a week and everyone was smiling. They are all motivated and ready."

Especially motivated are the crews of Team Delta Lloyd and Telefonica Black. They both missed leg five because of damage picked up en route to China, but have since returned - making a seven-boat fleet for the first time since leg four - and both are confident.

Aside from seeing Pedro Campos, a 13-time world champion, resume his role as inshore helmsman, Black have added double Olympic gold medallist Luis Doreste as tactician, and Anton Paz, who won gold in the last Games, sails before taking over as media crewmember in leg six. Roger Nilson temporarily assumes media responsibilities.

Black skipper Fernando Echavarri, who partnered Paz to gold, said: "It's been frustrating watching from the side...We didn't make the big leg which was something we all had dreamed to do. It was disappointing to miss the leg, but now we are coming back. I think the boat is healthy now and we are trying - as always - to do our best.

"We have some great sailors and feel good."

Likewise, Delta Lloyd are eyeing a good future. "The new Delta Lloyd has a new bow a new mast and a few new good sails," said skipper Roberto Bermudez. "We've spent two weeks testing everything and I think we're ready for the in port and next leg. We've added some good new crew on board, Nick Bice, Ben Costello and we have a new navigator Wouter Verbraak from Team Russia and then Green Dragon and now Delta Lloyd...I have also Marcelo (Ferreira, Grael's long term Star partner) onboard for the in-port race. He is a very good guy and understands this bay very well."

Green Dragon's Ian Walker has not yet taken his boat sailing since arriving in Rio last week, but is hoping for a good performance. "I guess if we were doing another regatta you might spend a whole week training for the race," he said. "But we only put the boat in the water yesterday; fortunately it's in good shape. We'll do a day's practice and try our luck tomorrow...We have a little bit of experience of racing here on the boat, but I've never sailed here."

In the background Magnus Olsson, laughing as usual, was relaxed. His team are still revelling in the glory of their leg five win. The result was in no small part due to navigator Aksel Magdahl's bravery, but he will not sail tomorrow.

"Aksel is still resting in Sweden," he said. "Magnus Woxen is taking his place but otherwise no changes."

And so to Guanabara Bay. There will be no fewer than 18 Olympic medals represented on that stretch of water, but all eyes will be on the man with more than anyone else.

Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Green Dragon Looks Ahead to the In-Port Race

Green Dragon is craned back into the water in Rio. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

by Lucy Harwood

Just one day remains until the Rio de Janeiro In Port race this Saturday 4th April. Green Dragon has been back on dry land for less than a week and the shore team have been working around the clock often up to 18 hours a day in order to have the Dragon ready to go at the weekend. Work started on Saturday evening after Green Dragon crossed the finish line to secure fourth place on the 43 day epic leg from China.

The shore team work on the hull. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

The boat has been stripped and a full maintenance check carried out on all systems including the winches, the engines, and the electronics. Southern Spars have been on hand to perform a full mast check and a total of 13 crew have been involved turning the work around on the boat itself. After one of the longest legs in the history of the race, one of the biggest jobs on the list was to hand wash and fumigate down below, “Eleven guys living in such a small area 24/7 for over 5 weeks makes for some fairly interesting conditions down below!” commented shore manager Johnny Smullen. “We have been all over the hull interior, mechanics and engineering, the electronics and the mast have also had a full inspection, and I am pleased to report that everything is good. All foils have been re-faired and painted, and everything under the water prepped ready for the In Port race this weekend.”

Green Dragon is craned back into the water. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

The seven-boat fleet will take to the waters off Rio on Saturday for two scheduled In Port races. Green Dragon will be sailing with a new line up as crew members Justin Slattery and Phil Harmer remain at home on leave, as well as some regular faces returning to the team. Both Ian Moore and Anthony Merrington are back onboard after taking a break from Leg 5, Merrington is now fully recovered from the back injury he sustained on leg 4 and he will re-join the crew for the rest of the race. New crew members onboard Green Dragon for the In Port race include Johnny Mordaunt (Green Dragon shore team - mechanics and engineering), James Carroll (Green Dragon Boat Captain), America’s Cup grinder Julien Cressant, and Leg 5 crew member Chris Main will also remain onboard for the racing.

The Green Dragon crew prepare the boat for the In-Port race. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Current forecasts show that the fleet will be expecting a 8 to 13 knot southerly breeze on Saturday. A maximum of four points are on offer for the winning team, both Delta Lloyd and Telefonica Black will be back in action after undergoing extensive repairs in Rio.

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Crew List for the Light In-Port Race Rio de Janeiro, 4th April 2009

Ericsson 4 ready for the In-Port race on Saturday. Image copyright Oskar Khilborg/Ericsson Racing Team.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

1. Roberto Bermúdez de Castro ESP, skipper
2. Wouter Verbraak NED, navigator
3. Andre Fonseca BRA, tactician
4. Sander Pluijm NED, media
5. Stu Wilson NZL
6. Nick Bice AUS
7. Ben Costello NZL
8. Ed van Lierde NED
9. David Pella ESP
10. Gerd-Jan Poortman NED
11. Morgan White AUS
12. Marcelo Ferreira BRA
13. Dave Miller NZL

1. Torben Grael BRA, skipper
2. Jules Salter UK, navigator
3. Guy Salter UK, media
4. Brad Jackson NZL
5. Stu Bannatyne NZL
6. Horacio Carabelli BRA
7. Tony Mutter NZL
8. Joca Signorini BRA
9. Ryan Godfrey AUS
10. Phil Jameson NZL
11. Dave Endean NZL
12. Joe Spooner NZL
13. Brian McInnes CAN

1. Magnus Olsson SWE, skipper
2. Magnus Woxén SWE, navigator
3. Rasmus Kostner DEN, tactician
4. Gustav Morin SWE, media
5. Arve Roaas NOR
6. Richard Mason SWE
7. Thomas Johanson FIN
8. Eivind Melleby NOR
9. Martin Strömberg SWE
10. Anders Dahlsjö SWE
11. Jens Dolmer DEN
12. Martin Krite SWE
13. Jann Neergaard DEN

1. Ian Walker GBR, skipper
2. Ian Moore IRL, navigator
3. Guo Chuan CHN, media
4. Neal McDonald GBR
5. Damian Foxall IRL
6. Christopher Main NZL
7. Anthony Merrington AUS
8. Tom Braidwood AUS
9. Andrew McLean NZL
10. James Carroll IRL
11. Freddie Shanks GBR
12. Johnny Mordaunt IRL
13. Julien Cressant FRA

1. Ken Read USA, skipper
2. Andrew Cape AUS, navigator
3. Rick Deppe GBR, media
4. Sidney Gavignet FRA
5. Rob Greenhalgh GBR
6. Rob Salthouse NZL
7. Justin Ferris NZL
8. Casey Smith AUS
9. Michael Muller GER
10. Kimo Worthington USA
11. Joe Fanelli USA
12. Andrew Taylor NZL
13. Shannon Falcone ANT

1. Iker Martinez ESP, skipper
2. Bouwe Bekking NED, tactician
3. Simon Fisher GBR, navigator
4. Gabriele Olivo ITA, media
5. Jonathan Swain RSA
6. Laurent Pages FRA
7. Jordi Calafat ESP
8. Xabier Fernandez ESP
9. Pablo Arrarte ESP
10. Daryl Wislang NZL
11. Pepe Ribes ESP
12. Federico Giovanelli ITA
13. Carlo Castellano ITA

1. Fernando Echávarri ESP, skipper
2. Luis Doreste ESP, tactician
3. Pedro Campos ESP, helmsman
4. Roger Nilson SWE, media
5. Gonzalo Araujo ARG
6. Jaime Arbones ESP
7. Pablo Iglesias ESP
8. Javier de la Plaza ESP
9. Maciel Cicchetti ARG
10. Antonio Cuervas-Mons ESP
11. Michael Pammenter RSA
12. Iñigo Losada ESP
13. Anton Paz ESP

Volvo Ocean Race

America's Cup: The Latest

The America's Cup. Image copyright Schmid Chris/EYEMAGE, all rights reserved.

Alinghi's response to the Court Ruling, 2nd April 2009:

“It has consistently been our view that the America's Cup should be fought on the water. Today through the American courts the Golden Gate Yacht Club has won the right to challenge the Société Nautique de Genève. We will now discuss the terms for the regatta with them and will prepare our defence of the 33rd America's Cup.”


BMW ORACLE Racing comment by Russell Coutts, 3rd March 2009:

"... if Golden Gate Yacht Club is reinstated as Challenger of Record by the upcoming ruling from the New York Court of Appeals [SailRaceWin: GGYC was confirmed by the Court as Challenger of Record on 2nd April 2009], we will immediately seek to negotiate with the Defender for a conventional, multi-challenger America’s Cup in monohulls. However, if Alinghi decides not to negotiate for a conventional Cup, we have to be prepared with a competitive 90-foot yacht for a Deed of Gift match."


AC: K-Challenge Team Goes Forward

K-Challenge competed at the Marseille International Match Race this year. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget.

by Stephanie Nadin

The New York Court of Appeals has finally made a decision in favor of the Golden Gate Yacht Club: Club Nautico Español de Vela is not confirmed as Challenger of Record for the 33rd America's Cup.

The Golden Gate Yacht Club is now the Challenger of Record, as per the first Court decision.

The 33rd America's Cup will be a duel between Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing who will face each other, 10 months from now, in a venue that Alinghi will choose. The next multi-challengers America's Cup is postponed, unless they come to an agreement.

K-Challenge Sailing Team to work in continuity

K-Challenge, French team for the 32nd America's Cup, carried on after its first participation between 2004 and 2007. The team anticipated well the situation and had already chosen for a long time not to stop while waiting for this decision, whatever it could be.

The sailing team leaded by Sebastien Col (ISAF World match racing ranking's number one) keeps on racing, thanks to a programme that will allow the team to take part to the next multi-challengers America's Cup with a group coming from the new generation and having a strong common experience, which is an essential ingredient to be competitive and powerful in this event.

The K-Challenge Sailing Team's machine is on, with promising results in 2008 and a Runner Up title on the World Match Racing Tour for Seb Col. The French team also took part to the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series among the 10 best teams in the world in February 2009, before starting a complete season on the World Match Racing Tour (10 events) and the RC44 circuit (6 events).

K-Challenge Sailing Team: more challenges as a target!

The team is considering to take part to the Tour de France à la Voile as soon as possible in order to reinforce its programme, and to prepare the group thanks to other types of boats. The Tour is also a place where it is possible to meet and to test many crew members. (As a reminder, K-Challenge is also involved in the pitch for the renewing of the Tour de France à la Voile´s official boat from 2011, which is a collaboration with Russell Coutts and the Pauger boat yard. This association is currently one of the three finalists.)

The team is also examining other projects on top level circuits, in order to reinforce its 2010 programme, still with the America's Cup as a ultimate goal. K-Challenge owns a 24m Version 5 America's Cup Class boat, and all the required infrastructure, which are ideal and unique tools in France to train a team towards the America's Cup.

Stephane Kandler, K-Challenge's CEO: «this situation had to come to an end, and this is now done. May the best win on the water. The America's Cup is an historical event, and it has come through a lot of similar situations in the past, we mustn't forget that. It will come out even stronger out of that. In the meantime, the K-Challenge Sailing Team has already chosen to use the time given to work with the new generation which will challenge in the next America's Cup. This is a new approach, that we never had the chance to benefit from in France in this mythical competition, and we will work more than ever to catch it! We absolutely need to have a long term vision if we want to win this competition one day, and this is for that reason we've never stopped fighting with my team in 8 years!”


VOR: Ericsson Racing Team Prepared for In-Port Race

Ericsson 3 and Ericsson 4 ready to race. Image copyright Oskar Khilborg/Ericsson Racing Team.

by Victoria Low

Barely eight days have passed since Ericsson Racing Team swept Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Now, the team is ready for the next contest of the globe-girdling race.

The Rio de Janeiro In-Port Race is scheduled for Saturday, and Ericsson's two yachts are back in the water and ready for a tune-up. Ericsson 3 and Ericsson 4 will partake in Friday's practice race in anticipation of Saturday's two races.

Last Thursday, March 26, Ericsson 3 and Ericsson 4 placed first and second into Rio after an agonizing 40-day leg from Qingdao, China. Two team members, however, say they're ready to get back on the water.

"We've had some time to rest because we haven't been allowed down to the marina," said Magnus Olsson, skipper of Ericsson 3, which won Leg 5. "We could've taken a few more days off, but we really can't complain. It's even worse for our competition, which was out there longer."

For overall race leader Ericsson 4, which placed second on Leg 5, the crew members who scattered to various parts of the world returned to Rio last night.

"We had a few guys go home, back to the UK and others to New Zealand. Those that stayed had a few relaxing days," said Stu Bannatyne, a watch captain and In-Port Race tactician for Ericsson 4.

"It wasn't a huge amount of time off, but the 40 days offshore weren't overly taxing," Bannatyne continued. "We arrived here in good shape, no one lost significant weight. So we didn't need a whole lot of recovery time to get going again."

Surprisingly, Ericsson Racing Team sailors lost few pounds during the long leg that took them across the Pacific Ocean and past Cape Horn. Team physiotherapist Joel Rewa-Morgan reported an average loss of four pounds (two kilos).

"We didn't do too badly," said Rewa-Morgan, who oversees the conditioning program. "One of the Nordic crew lost 13 pounds (six kilos), but most of that was in Taiwan. Most of the guys lost the same average of about four pounds (two kilos). Some of the guys didn't lose anything."

Ericsson 4 goes into the In-Port Race with the same crew that has been aboard for all five offshore legs. They're joined by America's Cup Class grinders Brian "Puck" MacInnes and Joe Spooner, who both missed the Qingdao In-Port Race due to conflicting commitments.

"Puck and Joe are here already," said Bannatyne. "They missed China, but are keen to get back into it. It's nice to have that AC grinder horsepower to help us out."

Ericsson 3 has some slight crew changes. Navigator Aksel Magdahl has been given a break and will miss the In-Port Race before returning for the offshore leg to Boston.

Richard Mason, the watch captain who stepped down for Leg 5 due to an injury, will fill Magdahl's spot, although not his position. That will be assumed by Magnus "Bagi" Wøxen, who sailed Leg 5. Ericsson 3's two In-Port crewmembers, tactician Rasmus Køstner and mainsail grinder Jann Neergaard, also return for the weekend.

The In-Port races have been an Achilles heel for Ericsson 3, which has performed in the middle of the pack. Olsson is determined to reverse that trend.

"We're not far from doing well, but the competition is very tough," Olsson said. "A slight hesitation or going the wrong way means you won't perform well because the competition is so tough."

The first start of tomorrow's two races is scheduled for 1600 GMT (1300 local).

(Through Leg 5)
1. Ericsson 4, 63.5 points
2. Puma, 53
3. Telefónica Blue, 50.5
4. Ericsson 3, 43.5
5. Green Dragon, 39.5
6. Telefónica Black, 21
7. Delta Lloyd, 12
8. Team Russia, 10.5

Ericsson Racing Team
Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Blood Brothers

Marcelo Ferreira, Team Delta Lloyd and Torben Grael, Ericsson 4. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Riath Al-Samarrai

Torben Grael tends to be a man of few words, but one particular conversation topic gets him going.

"Marcelo," he says. "He is great. A great sailor, but we are probably better friends socially."

He has been sailing with Marcelo Ferreira for more than 20 years, ever since they got in a boat together at the Rio Yacht Club in Niteroi in 1985. "He was in our circle of sailing friends and we just started sailing together," he says with a grin.

It was not a bad decision. They won a Star class world title five years later and then, over the next 14 years, became Olympic legends, sailing together to take gold medals in the 1996 and 2004 Games with a bronze sandwiched in between. When Grael was made skipper of Brasil 1 in the last race, not surprisingly Ferreira was his right-hand man.

"Great memories," Ferreira adds.

On Saturday, they will both be sailing on Guanabara Bay again, but not on the same team. Ferreira will be trimming onboard Delta Lloyd, Grael calling the shots as skipper on Ericsson 4. It will be a golden head-to-head, but it's got both men scratching their heads.

"I don't remember when we last raced each other," Grael says.

"No idea, really," adds Ferreira. "But racing Torben." He pauses, exhales loudly and laughs. "Racing Torben, hard. Very hard."

Grael adds: "He is just a great competitor. It's very tough racing him. He is very motivated and has a strong drive too. When it counts, he is reliable. He can do it when it is most important. He doesn't crack under pressure, a great sailor."

More importantly to Grael, he is a "great friend".

"We are probably better friends socially than we are professionally," Grael says. "It is a nice friendship for sure."

And yet they are almost binary opposites. Whereas Ferreira seems constantly jolly, laughing and talking with anyone who passes, Grael is harder to understand. He can be happy and warm, but rarely operates outside his own terms. He gives the impression, from time to time, that the media is a burden he can do without. And stories of his temper are not hard to find. But, on the other side, he is said to be extremely generous, kind and good natured, a point illustrated by the Grael Project, a cost-free sailing program for children from low income families. To friends like Ferreira, he is simply "a great guy".

"He is a very quiet guy, conservative in his words," he says. "I have known him for so long. He is a great friend.

"He is completely different to me. A nice formula, a balance."

That said, the professional and personal mystery of Grael, referred to by some members of the Ericsson team as the "Torben Factor", has not totally been solved by Ferreira.

"You never know what he thinks," he laughs. "I have known him for many years and I still do not know what he is thinking some of the time. He loves to win, that's a big thing for him. Everything must be done right. When he is with a crew that is well trained, doing things right, he is quiet and concentrated. When we have a new team he gets crazy, screaming a lot, wanting to do the best all the time. He gives a hard time when it's not in good shape.

"Torben loves to win, he is so determined. When he is focused, he does not lose. His talent, wow. I sit in the same boat and I do not see the things he sees. He has something very special. He has a very, very, very strong feeling. He just does it, instinct, feeling. Wonderful to sail with him."

And yet on Saturday they sail against each other, two legends of the game locking horns.

Grael still can't remember the last time it happened. "A long time ago, I think," he says. "It's better to sail with him."

Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Telefonica Blue Denied Redress

Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Telefonica Blue. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Peter Rusch

The International Jury has denied the Telefonica Blue claim for redress. The Jury convened in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday afternoon to hear the case. Within two hours, they came back to tell Telefonica Blue its claim had been denied.

"(I'm) a little bit disappointed... They dismissed the protest, which is unfortunate for us and fortunate for the race committee and race authorities," said Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Telefonica Blue. "That's it, that's how yacht racing is. No bad feelings, we gave it our best shot."

To make a successful claim for redress, the Racing Rules of Sailing (62.1) state the request has to satisfy the Jury ‘that a boat's score in a race or series has, through no fault of her own, been made significantly worse by an improper action or omission of the race committee.'

Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Telefonica Blue, said that his boat grounded before the start in a shallow area that was too close to the start line. The area, he said, was ‘high risk' for navigation.

Further, he claimed his team's standing in the leg was compromised when Telefonica Blue was unable to haul out immediately after returning to the marina in Qingdao, due to insufficient depth at low tide. He also thought the Race Committee should have postponed the start when it learned the Telefonica boat had been damaged.

But the Race Committee said that when laying the course it took into account ‘the obstacles that we knew were there based on the information we had at the time.'

‘There was sufficient water around the start,' according to the Race Director Jack Lloyd. He went on to say the Race Committee wasn't aware, before the start, that Telefonica Blue had run aground, but only that the team was suspending racing.

During the hearing, the Jury chairman Bryan Willis agreed that Telefonica Blue's finishing position was probably made significantly worse after the boat grounded on an uncharted obstruction minutes before the start.

But clearing the other hurdles in the redress rule (no fault of her own, and improper action by the Race Committee) was more difficult.

The Jury found that Telefonica Blue hit an uncharted object in area that had sufficient charted depth (10 metres). The team called the Race Committee to suspend racing, but did not give a reason at that time. Regardless of whether the Race Committee knew the reason Telefonica Blue was suspending racing or not, it was under no obligation to postpone the start.

The Jury also found "the Race Committee made reasonable efforts to ensure the start was set in a safe area" and had previously taken soundings in the area but didn't find any readings that disagreed with the chart.

Neither the Race Committee nor the race organisers had an obligation to provide constant access to a port for repairs.

Thus the Telefonica Blue request for redress was denied.

Bekking says they won't ask for the hearing to be re-opened: "This is it...we had a couple of things that we thought might make an opening, but you can drag these things on and we have an in-port race this weekend," he said. "Now we just have to think about Saturday and go yacht racing."

Volvo Ocean Race

Friday 3 April 2009

America's Cup Verdict from the New York Courts

Golden Gate Yacht Club is declared Challenger of Record

The America's Cup in Valencia in July 2007. It is likely that a multi-challenger event would be held in Valencia, but the Court ruling means that if there is no agreement regarding a multi-challenger event then a Deed of Gift challenge would have to take place in the southern hemisphere. Image copyright Ivo Rovira/Alinghi.

"Since CNEV has failed to show that at the time it submitted its Notice of Challenge it was a '[c]lub fulfilling all the conditions required by' the Deed of Gift, it does not qualify as the Challenger of Record for the 33rd America's Cup competition and [the] Supreme Court was correct in declaring GGYC to be the valid Challenger of Record. It has been posited that the right to act as trustee of the America's Cup should be decided on the water and not in a courtroom. We wholeheartedly agree. It falls now to SNG and GGYC to work together to maintain this noble sailing tradition as 'a perpetual Challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries.'"

New York Courts

VOR: Dockside Images of Green Dragon

Green Dragon and the Ericsson boats on their cradles in Rio. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Green Dragon goes back in the water Thursday afternoon local time after a mini re-fit following leg 5. The practice race for Saturday's In-Port race will be held on Friday, with seven boats competing.

Green Dragon on its cradle in Rio. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Freddy Shanks. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Peter Tans working on Green Dragon. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Peter Tans. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Andrew McLean working on Green Dragon’s mast. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Ben Clifford working on Green Dragon’s rudders. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Green Dragon shore manager Johnny Smullen. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Ben Davies working on Green Dragon. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Work on the underside of the hull. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Sailmaker Tom Goddard working on Green Dragon’s mainsail. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Work on Green Dragon's mainsail in Rio. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Tom Goddard working on Green Dragon’s mainsail. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Green Dragon's sail loft in Rio. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Green Dragon's haul-out 'to do' list. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

Thursday 2 April 2009

VOR: Ian Moore Back with the Dragon in Rio

Green Dragon's Navigator, Ian Moore. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Interview by Lucy Harwood

Ian Moore is back in Rio for the In-Port race and Leg 6

It is nice to be back, I am feeling a bit guilty for not being out there on the last leg, in some ways I was glad that I wasn’t there as it was such a long leg. But it is good to get back and see everybody, and hear a few stories and start looking forward to the next one.

You had a break, was it good?

Yes, seven weeks at home, it is probably the longest time I have spent at home in three years! It had to be done and we have another child on the way. Emily didn’t come to China and Singapore and she wasn’t going to be able to come to Rio, so if I didn’t do it then it just would have been too difficult. You have to set some priorities in life and obviously family comes right at the top so. It had to be done.

Batteries all recharged?

Yes fully, I’ve been working in the garden and doing a bit of cycling, and having a really nice time. I have been watching the race but even then not trying to fret or worry too much about it, but I am looking forward to getting my teeth into something again.

Were you contacting the boat at all, or was it one of those occasions where you said 'I’m not doing it and I will keep my distance'?

Obviously we’re not allowed to contact them about the race itself. I sent them the football scores and, of course, the rugby results. There were a few house keeping things Ian wanted me to do, but it was pretty detached really.

When they made a move or a decision, did you think ‘I’m not sure I would have done that?’

Yes you do watch it from afar, but because you’re not looking at every sched and every model, every piece of weather information, it is very difficult to say what you would have done. It isn’t the same situation. You don’t have the pressure of the risk/reward situation that you have on the boat. It is all very well to say well I would have done that, but you weren’t there so how would you know what you really would have done? It was interesting and a huge leg to watch from the shore.

It is decision time again. You have the In Port race and then the leg to Boston, what are you expecting over the next couple of weeks?

It is quite a long leg, 4,500 miles to Boston, lots of upwind and close reaching ahead and there may not be a huge number of tactical opportunities. We will be starting to work towards finding where there might be opportunities and when those arise I guess we will have to make the best of them. Before that we have the In Port race, and because it has been such a long leg and a lot of the guys are really tired and haven’t seen their families in a long time we may be a bit thin on the ground in terms of the usual crew. That will present a lot of opportunities and we have to decide if we keep the same line up that we’ve had before, with me doing tactics. We have Chris Main here so he could do tactics or we have also talked about putting Walker on tactics. A few decisions to make there as we have to make the most of it, hopefully two of these boats are still sorting out a few issues so we should be strong against those guys. We are half way through the race, and if we really want to be on the podium we need to start making an impact. Suddenly it is going to start slipping away if we don’t do it now, so we need to notch some podiums in the next few legs and In Ports.

Green Dragon on shore in Rio. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Green Dragon's Mast Back On

Green Dragon’s rig team have been working around the clock in order to prepare the mast for the In Port race this weekend. In the early hours of this morning, the team craned the mast back onto Green Dragon. The shore team now have just over a day before the boat is lifted back into the water ahead of the practice race on Friday 3rd April. (The keel went back on the boat on 30th March.)

Since Green Dragon’s arrival into Rio last Saturday the shore team have been working around the clock, often for 15 plus hours a day in order to prepare for the In Port race this Saturday. With no major gear failure or breakages during the 43 day leg, the shore team have stripped the boat and are testing all systems and running general maintenance. Green Dragon is due to be craned back into the water this Thursday 2nd April in time for the In Port practice race on Friday 3rd April.

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Luis Doreste Joins Telefonica Black for Rio In-Port Race

Luis Doreste. Image copyright Nico Martinez.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

Luis Doreste, a four-time Olympian who won Gold medals in the Los Angeles (1984) and Barcelona (1992) Olympic Games will join Telefonica Black for the Rio in-port race.

Doreste will be tactician for Pedro Campos, who is also scheduled to return as helmsman for the in-port race. Fernando Echavarri, the skipper of Telefonica Black will remain in the afterguard as navigator.

"Luis is the type of sailor who can adapt to any kind of boat very quickly," Echavarri said. "He's one of the most experienced sailors in Spain. He was a sailing star when I began sailing, so it is a real honour for me to have him sail with us."

Doreste hasn't sailed with the team before, but he has a long history with Pedro Campos, dating back the Spanish America's Cup team in Auckland in 1999-2000.

For me, the Volvo Ocean Race is the most important and extreme ocean race," Doreste said. "That the Telefonica team has two boats in the race says a lot about the effort they are making to win the race. It also means they are helping to create a new generation of Spanish sailors for the future. I'm proud to be a part of that."

Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Friendly Rivalry between Delta Lloyd and Telefonica Black

Delta Lloyd and Telefonica Black practice off Rio. Image copyright Diana Bogaards/Team Delta Lloyd.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

It hasn't been easy for the Telefonica Black and Delta Lloyd teams to watch the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet race through the Southern Ocean to get to Rio.

Both boats arrived here by ship, rather than under their own power, after suffering significant damage on the way to Qingdao during Leg 4. But today, the two sailing teams arranged to meet on the waters of Guanabara Bay, off the Marina da Gloria, to try and make up for lost time.

For Delta Lloyd, this was their third day of sailing since returning to the water last week. With new crew members, a new mast and several new sails to test, these days ahead of the in-port race on the weekend are critical in terms of getting the boat up to speed.

Telefonica Black was sailing for just the second day since being forced to abandon racing during the fourth leg. Their Spanish skipper, Fernando Echavarri, was itching to get behind the wheel and get his team back on song.

"We were a little bit rusty so we were really looking forward to going outside and racing a little bit," Echavarri said. "We practiced with Delta Lloyd for several hours - start procedures and short races around the bay, despite the really tricky and light conditions.

"In another day or two we will finish with all the 'to do' lists and we'll be out with the full crew who will be sailing with us in the in-port race."

Roberto 'Chuny' Bermudez, the skipper of Delta Lloyd, said his team is still on a steep learning curve, but he's pleased with all the changes the team has made over the past couple of months, and is eager to test out the new kit.

"New mast, new sails, new crew, new bow...but it's a good feeling," he said. "The mast is much stiffer and the rig works well with the sails. Yesterday and the day before we tested some of the new sails and they're really good. I'm very happy with them.

"The new guys (Wouter Verbraak, Ben Costello, Nick Bice) are really good. They're real professionals and they improve the team a lot. They make all of us better."

In extremely light conditions of 4 to 8 knots, the teams sparred with some practice starts and then a couple of short races, with Delta Lloyd coming up short in the informal competition.

"We have to buy the beers today," Chuny laughed. "But we learned a lot. We did a few starts and two races, but unfortunately we lost 2-0, so we have to buy the drinks. But tomorrow, we'll try for a re-match"

Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Green Dragon in Rude Health

Green Dragon and the Ericsson twins undergoing maintenance on shore in Rio. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

"I would almost say we got away with murder." That was the assessment of Green Dragon shore manager Johnny Smullen when he saw the "surprisingly good" condition of his boat after 12,300 nautical miles of sailing.

by Riath Al-Samarrai

The fifth leg was almost twice the length of the second longest stage in this race, but Green Dragon, like most their rivals, have emerged with no major concerns.

It has left Smullen pleasantly surprised, but he admitted his shore team will have to endure some late nights in order to cross off the many small items from their work list.

"We will work long days, about 18 hours from 7am till midnight," he said. "It won't be particularly easy to get everything done, but things could have been a lot worse on a long leg like that. As it stands we just have a lot of smaller jobs to do, servicing mainly.

"To be honest, I would almost say we got away with murder. I think the boat is in pretty good condition. A lot of stuff we have on the list is the same stuff we'd have after a lot of shorter legs, stuff like fixing electronics that got wet. Even though it was 12,000 miles long, I think the biggest wind the guys saw was 40 knots and they've had more than that in other legs.

"All in all I'm pretty happy."

Work is already well underway to get the boat fixed and back on the water by Thursday afternoon. They arrived in fourth place on Saturday afternoon and within a day Smullen's team - 13 people including Smullen and two extra staff hired for this stopover - had washed out and fumigated down below.

The keel was taken out so that its bearings could be replaced, and it went back in last night. "We've gotten off to a good start with it all," Smullen said. "One of our main projects was to take the keel off and change the bearings. They just wear out. We planned on changing them once in the race and we don't expect to do it again.

"Now we are just getting through the work list, which is a lot of little things, nothing major. We have done a full check on the boat and are now just servicing the winches, servicing the engines, the electronics. Just routine stuff.

"The deck paint has taken a bit of a hammering, which makes the deck a bit slippy. We'll re-do that We usually paint the foils and we are getting ready to paint the keel. The daggerboards were probably the most beaten up. That's normal.

"I am surprised, I thought there'd be a lot more breakages. I think the boat is in pretty good condition."

The team now plan to get the boat on the water by Thursday afternoon, enabling them to have a practice sail on Friday ahead of Saturday's in-port race.

Volvo Ocean Race

Aussie 18 Foot Skiff Images from Frank Quealey

Sydney Harbour: Skiffs competing in the Club Trophy last weekend.
All images below copyright Frank Quealey. All rights reserved.

Australian 18 Foot Skiffs

Wednesday 1 April 2009

WMRT: Ben Ainslie to Sail in Match Race Germany

TEAMORIGIN's Ben Ainslie. Image copyright onEdition/World Match Racing Tour.

by Eberhard Magg

Ben Ainslie (GBR) of TEAMORIGIN is the most successful Olympic Sailor of his generation. From May 27th to June 1st, the British sailor and his TEAMORIGIN crew will be the most prominent starter of the 12th edition of Match Race Germany sailed in front of the promenade of Langenargen on the waters of Lake Constance. Ainslie will challenge a further 11 high calibre teams to a duel at the traditional and renowned German Match Race Classic. Amongst them will be the world number 1 ISAF ranked match racer Sebastien Col (FRA) of French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge.

With 3 gold medals, Ben Ainslie is aiming to climb the throne in the all-time hall of fame of Olympic sailors. In 2012 at the London Olympic Games he hopes to compete for his 4th Gold medal. Having also won a Silver medal in 1996 the Finn Dinghy sailor could beat the unbroken record (4 Gold Medals in a row) of the legendary Dane Paul Elvström and set course for sailing immortality. Nobody doubts that with the chance to win a 4th Gold on home turf, the extraordinary sailor will achieve his goal. Until then, the “James Bond of the 7 Oceans” wants to sharpen his skills in Match Racing and the America’s Cup as Skipper of the British TEAMORIGIN.

For Germany’s Tour stop, the 32 year old British Superstar wants to deliver a good result, marking his start into the Tour Season: "Lake Constance is a pretty challenging venue as the wind is often light and always changing so you have to be very aware. The MRG will be our first event on the Tour this season and so we would like to try and start with a good event”, said Ainslie.

The 1.85 m tall Pro Sailor, who along with Jochen Schuemann (GER) and Valentin Mankin (RUS) is ranked second in the all time list of best Olympic Sailors. Ainslie describes Schuemann and Elvström as “Sailing Heroes, and the source of my inspiration”. He is so passionate about the sport of sailing that he describes it as “my life and my motor to get up every morning.” He looks forward to visiting Match Race Germany for the second time, his first appearance being back in 2005 with Emirates Team New Zealand. “The event is always well organised and we look forward to the challenges we will face in Langenargen”, Ainslie said.

In the ISAF World Ranking List, the 11 times World Champion is currently ranked 53rd, but has set the goal together with his TEAMORIGIN to make it to the top 10 in the coming months.

To achieve this goal, the 3 times Rolex ISAF World Sailor of the year will have to beat some heavyweights of Match racing first. Besides Seb Col’s French Match Racing Team/K Challenge, he will come up against names like Adam Minoprio, the shooting star from New Zealand, and his ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing team, who recently won the inaugural Event of the World Tour in Marseille. Minoprio beat sailing giant Ed Baird of Alinghi and 2007 Match Race Germany winner Paolo Cian on his way to victory in France. Amongst the pre race favourites on Lake Constance are Mathieu Richard and his French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit as well as Australian Torvar Mirsky, another up and coming young star from last year who earned himself a Tour card.

“We are more than happy about the calibre of the early entries into the 12th edition of Match Race Germany” said co-organiser Eberhard Magg, who, along with his long term partner Harald Thierer, vouches for the fact that the only German Tour stop and Sailing Grand Prix is considered a fixed star in the match race firmament.

In Langenargen the race for prestige, Tour ranking points, $50,000 prize money and world ranking points, will be sailed in the Bavaria Match 35 from Bavaria Yachtbau. The duels will be very close to shore where last year an event record of over 40,000 spectators saw the action in the natural arena of Langenargen, a figure that the organisers hope to top once again in 2009. “This overwhelming interest is motivation enough for us to keep on working on our Sail and Tainment system we established over 7 years ago in order to present world class sport with high tension and fun to our visitors on site”, said Harald Thierer.

Match Race Germany and the 9 other Tour stops are outstanding events in the world of match racing and are the breeding ground for future America’s Cup talent. The Yacht Club Langenargen e.V. is once again organising the racing, led by president Michael Nöltge and PRO Rudi Magg.

World Match Racing Tour

VOR: Telefonica Blue is "pretty healthy" despite the damage

Boat maintenance on Telefonica Blue's keel in the Rio de Janeiro haul out area after more than 40 days of sailing in Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

Telefonica Blue may have taken the brunt of the notable damage caused to the fleet in leg five, but shore boss Campbell Field is comfortable with his workload.

The team hit a rock with their keel before the leg even started and then endured a forestay failure at a critical juncture, immediately slashing their hopes of a third straight leg win.

Other publicly disclosed problems included damage to their mainsail, check-stay structure, boom vang, prop box, water-maker pump and a daggerboard post, but Field revealed the boat is "pretty healthy".

He added: "We've got your usual long list of maintenance and service jobs, but I could count the actual repair jobs on one hand.

"There was a hole in the deck from when one of the shackles on the masthead zero broke; the check-stay damage is a bit of a laminating job, but there is no damage to the check-stay itself. We are putting right the repair we did on the keel in China. There's also a chunk out of the transom, a few marks on the rudders from stuff in the water."

Telefonica Blue's mast receives attention, whilst the workers are protected from the sun's rays, in Rio. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

The team will receive a boost during the stopover when a new inventory of sails arrives for both Blue and Black. Field confirmed a new mainsail was among Blue's, replacing the sail which severely delaminated en route to Rio.

Field now plans to get the boat back on the water by Thursday morning, with a training sail scheduled for later that afternoon. It is a tight schedule, and his team of 20 - plus five extras - are working from 8am to midnight on the job.

"It's a very long list, so we are focusing on the things that need to be done for the in-port race. Then next week we will have a go at the wish-list items. We will try and do as many as we can, but we'll be good to go for the restart."

The haul-out and maintenance area in Rio. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: PUMA's Long List of Small Jobs

Replacing the rigging on il mostro's mast in Rio. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

PUMA shore boss Neil Cox is aiming to get il mostro back on the water by Wednesday, a turnaround he hopes will give the team sufficient preparation time for Saturday's in-port race.

The yacht arrived in Rio de Janeiro in third position on Friday morning, but, despite sailing a gruelling 12,300-nautical mile course, carried no major damage.

"It's just a nice change not to be dealing with any structural repairs," said Cox, whose shore team encountered hefty damage to their longitudinal frames in leg two.

"This is going to be a busy stop for us because the list of small jobs is long, but there's nothing major to worry about," he added. "We have a list of cosmetics and composite jobs. The hull will take some work to get it back in condition and the appendages are getting touched up. Daggerboards, rudders, keel pins, bulb are all getting some attention as well.

"Bigger picture, we look in pretty good shape."

PUMA and Telefonica Blue out of the water in Rio. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Work is required on the running rigging, which will be replaced. Cox explained: "The mast took as good a beating as anything else. The running rigging needs to be changed. We always had a spare set and would have considered changing it but our hand's been forced a bit by some chafe that you wouldn't want to take a chance with."

The team now intends to re-step the mast on Monday night, before floating the boat on Wednesday. It adds up to approximately 15 hours of work per day for Cox's shore team of 14 - three extra staff outside of the core group have been drafted in for this stopover - in order to provide Ken Read's crew with as much inshore preparation time as possible.

"We are trying to sail twice before the in-port race and we are pushing to get the boat back in the water," Cox said. "We want the guys to get a chance to practice. We are only just in second place (on the overall leaderboard) so if you want to consolidate on it you need the time on water not the cradle."

Volvo Ocean Race

Tuesday 31 March 2009

VOR: Green Dragon Prepares for the Rio In-Port Race

Green Dragon is lifted out of the water in Rio. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

by Lucy Harwood

Green Dragon’s shore team have been working around the clock in order to prepare the boat ahead of the In Port race this Saturday 4th April. The boat has been craned out of the water and the mast removed. The team removed the keel today for a full check, and the boat will now be switched from ‘offshore mode’ to ‘inshore mode’ as seven boats will line up on the waters off Rio this weekend.

Green Dragon on shore at the Race Village in Rio. Image copyright Yongtao Jiang/Green Dragon Racing.

Green Dragon Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Close, but Not Enough

Green Dragon, skippered by Ian Walker (GBR) finish fourth into Rio de Janeiro on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, crossing the line at 18:59:40 GMT 28/03/09. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Riath Al-Samarrai

"This close," said Ian Walker, looking at a one-inch gap between his thumb and forefinger. "We were this close to making the call."

But like three other boats in this fleet of five, they didn't. Ericsson 3 were the only team to head east at the 36-degree south scoring gate and it was the move that won them the longest leg in the history of the race.

Green Dragon, meanwhile, went south with the rest of the pack and ultimately lost the drag race across the Southern Ocean, the victims of a boat speed deficit that Walker rated at about "10%".

When they arrived this afternoon, fourth place theirs after 42 days, 13 hours and 57 minutes of racing, the frustration at that decision was not far from the surface.

"It's something we discussed ad nauseam for four days," Walker said. "We actually nearly broke away at Fiji, three or four days before Ericsson 3 did. We would have been two or three days ahead of them if we had. But that's racing. We took the percentages.

"It's probably the only decision I would change if I could. We missed an opportunity to cut the corner on everyone. You don't get many of those opportunities. We might get one more in the rest of the race."

With that, he perked up. "We did sail a good leg."

Ian Walker steers the Green Dragon into Rio. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

They did. It has been well documented that their boat lacks the pace of the front runners in certain conditions, causing the team to seek compensation in different routes that might bridge the gap.

"The tough thing is we are clearly 5-10% slower," Verbraak explained. "If you are in the same piece of water and losing you have to find alternatives. We tried to do that and some times it worked."

In this leg, they were already 73 miles down after two days sailing almost the exact same route of their rivals. And they were 207 adrift in fourth a further two days down the track. Their navigator, Wouter Verbraak responded by placing the boat further east and after nearly three weeks they were back within 32 miles of the leader.

Then Ericsson 3 turned east, got a jump on the fleet, and Dragon dived south to protect their position against Telefonica Blue, who were last with a broken forestay. They were soon 578 miles behind the leaders, but reduced the deficit to 167 miles as they rounded Cape Horn.

"Wouter did a great job," Walker said.

Neal McDonald added: "From where I sit, and I always look at the leg when it's finished and take it apart, I think Ian and Wouter did really well."

After Cape Horn, the team fell off the back of a weather system and were left behind by the front three. "Very tough," Verbraak said. "We just missed out and it hurt us."

All the while, rations onboard were low. "We are all pretty hungry," Phil Harmer said. "Not fun when you're hungry. This was such a huge leg, a really, really long leg. So hard. But we've finished it and can all feel proud. We're here in one piece and can get something proper to eat."

"We had to split the food into watches to stop any problems with the guys," Walker added. "It was actually quite funny because the guys ended up trading and it gave us something to talk about. Poor Guo (Chuan, their media crewmember), I think he suffered in the negotiations a bit!"

Ultimately they arrived in fourth and the feelings about their position were mixed. "Another good result for the Dragon," said Harmer.

"This team is punching well above its weight," added Verbraak.

"I don't think we're too happy," said Walker. "We do it to win, not to cruise. We have some of the best sailors in the world."

Unfortunately for them, though, their boat is not as quick as those winning the legs.

With that in mind, Walker made the most of the result. "We joked that we won the handicap race," he said. "We were about 10% slower than everyone else so after 40 days we should be four days behind. We got in within four days so we have beaten them."

Volvo Ocean Race