Volvo Ocean Race skipper Ken Read (Puma) has vowed he and his crew will keep on fighting until the very end for a chance to lift the trophy in Galway, despite lying 23 points behind leaders Groupama.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, skippered by Ken Read from the USA suffered a broken mast on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Reflecting on his second consecutive Volvo Ocean Race as Puma skipper, Read said he was proud of what his team have achieved in the current edition, having clawed their way back to second place after being down and out when they broke their mast in Leg 1.
'Back then we were sitting on Tristan de Cunha when the rest of the fleet were still racing, thinking about killing a cow so we could have dinner,' Read said.
'For five days waiting for the ship to come get us, we could see our yacht, just this tiny little dot on the horizon, bobbing in the ocean swells with this little stump of a mast.
'Now here we are, and Tristan just seems so far behind, it’s almost out of our memories,' Read said. 'Now we are thinking that this is just another boat race.'
Puma’s third place in Leg 8 came after a monumental slugging match, first with Groupama and Telefónica, then in the closing stages, Camper, who powered through to take second and now sit five points behind Read´s crew.
Read said Puma had approached the almost 2,000 nautical mile leg from Lisbon to Lorient via the Azores as a ‘must win’ after making steady progress up the leaderboard since the first leg retirement.
'Entering the leg we felt like we had to win it,' he said. 'That’s how we sailed too and we didn’t leave much on the table, that’s for sure. But in the end it just didn’t happen perfectly.'
Read said his team were far from ready to concede defeat, although Groupama go into the final two three scoring opportunities with a 23 point advantage over Puma.
'We closed the gap very quickly over the last couple of legs,' he said. 'But to finish it off when there is a chunk of points and so many people in front, you need a lot of good things to happen.
'It is Groupama’s race to lose now,' he said. 'But that is not to say we are not going to fight tooth and nail for it. They realise they have this thing in their grasp and I am guessing they will do a good job of finishing this race off.
'But, if they don’t want to do that, then we will take it from them, I guarantee that.'
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, skippered by Ken Read from the USA, in tough seas, on the approach to the finish of leg 8, from Lisbon, Portugal, to Lorient, France, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.
Volvo Ocean Race website