Volvo Ocean Race skippers aim sights on in-port points grab

Telefonica skipper Iker Martinez at the Skippers Press Conference in the Abu Dhabi Race Village - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Now that Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race is complete, there is little time for relaxation as the crews are now regrouping and refocusing on the next points scoring opportunity which will be the Etihad Airways In-Port Race on January 13 in Abu Dhabi.

Race leaders Team Telefónica are looking to build on their eight point advantage at the top of the leaderboard with another strong performance on the inshore course.

Having won both the opening legs and the V&A Waterfront In-Port Race in Cape Town, Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez can have few pointers to give to his crew at this stage but says he is all too aware his team’s enviable position could change at any time.

'As you can imagine, we're very happy,' he said. 'This is down to great preparation and we are enjoying a little bit of an edge in that sense. The boat was going very well and we always knew how to sail it.

'The win in both legs came because things went right for us and wrong for the others. In the first leg Puma broke their mast and if not we could have been first or second because it was very even, and with Camper it was even closer in Leg 2.

Camper skipper Chris 'Nico' Nicholson at the Skippers Press Conference in the Abu Dhabi Race Village - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

'Winning or not winning was just down to the little details. Probably now it will be a little bit different. Everyone knows what they have to do to improve the boat and improve the crew, so a different mode of the race starts now.'

Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg skipper Ken Read paid tribute to Telefónica’s domination of the race so far and acknowledged that they were the team to catch.

Puma skipper Ken Read at the Skippers Press Conference in the Abu Dhabi Race Village - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

'The preparation of the Telefónica team is outstanding. These guys have set the bar real high and it’s up to us to get up there and surpass it. It's not because we're not trying, I can tell you that, but we have a long way to go.'

Despite sitting in fifth place in the overall standings Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker says he is keen to avoid falling foul of the race’s historical home team disadvantage.

'There's a bit of a tradition in the Volvo Ocean Race that you always do badly in your home port,' Walker said.
'Last time Torben Grael [race winning skipper on Ericsson 4] did it, Ken struggled a bit in Boston and this time Iker came last in the in-port race in Alicante.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker at the Skippers Press Conference in the Abu Dhabi Race Village - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

'Obviously we don't want to do that. People talk about pressure quite a lot but there is no greater pressure than we put on ourselves to do well.'

'We want to win this race as much as anything. That's what we're here for.'

Volvo Ocean Race website
http://www.sail-world.com/92598