Volvo Ocean Race - Puma claws their way up to third place

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, skippered by Ken Read from the USA, pull up their spinnaker, during the DHL In-Port Race Itajai, Brazil, in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.
In the Volvo Ocean Race, the Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg crew clawed their way up to finish in third place in the DHL In-Port Race in Itajaí, Brazil, on Saturday, April 21. Puma crossed the line one minute and five seconds behind the winning Groupama Sailing Team, with Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand in third. Puma added four points to their overall total.

'In these really short races you can’t ever count yourself out,' said skipper Ken Read.

'It was pretty flukey out there, and after the judges flagged us for a penalty at the start, we certainly had our work cut out for us. Telefónica gave us all a nice little break. All in all, I guess we can’t be too upset with a third-place finish, but I do have to figure out how to see more clearly what the judges are seeing. We loved our start, and I wouldn’t do it any different. I’m proud of the guys for maintaining plenty of fight.'

The start was delayed due to lack of wind, but rain rolled in, the breeze picked up, and racing was underway only 10 minutes behind schedule. Puma led off the line before getting flagged for a windward-leeward penalty. After a quick 360 penalty turn, the crew was back on track and passed Abu Dhabi on the second leg.

Mid-race Telefónica turned at the wrong mark, moving the Puma crew in to the third position. Puma’s Mar Mostro closed the gap on Camper to nine seconds at the sixth mark, and then the race committee shortened the course and the crew finished 17 seconds back across the line.

Puma holds on in fourth in the overall standings with 117 points. Telefónica maintains the top slot with 149 points, while Groupama closed the gap, sitting in second at 133. Camper is in third at 124.

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, skippered by Ken Read from the USA celebrate with champagne after finishing first, on leg 5 from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)

On Sunday, the fleet begins the 4,800 nautical mile journey back to the USA from Itajaí to Miami, Florida – the lone U.S. stop in this year’s race. The trip up the Atlantic is expected to take around 15 days. Race Start is at 14:00 local/17:00 UTC.

Shannon Falcone (Falmouth Harbor, Antigua) is on board for this upcoming leg, taking the place of Casey Smith (Brisbane, Australia) who injured his back. Kelvin Harrap (Napier, New Zealand) returns to the crew after missing Leg 5 due to injury.

The Volvo Ocean Race started on November 5th in Alicante, and the fleet is traveling 39,000 nautical miles through 10 ports, finishing in Galway, Ireland, in July 2012.

Quoting Ken Read on Telefónica rounding the wrong mark: 'We thought hallelujah when we saw Telefónica make that left-hand turn around the wrong mark. They don’t make too many mistakes, and when they do you had better take advantage of it.'

On the close race: 'There are a bunch of evenly matched boats in this fleet that are very well-sailed and professionally run, so that’s good for everybody. So it’s no surprise that the racing was very close.'

Volvo Ocean Race website
http://www.sail-world.com/96350