VOR: Leg Three begins—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
This past weekend proved a great doubleheader for Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) sailors, as the Abu Dhabi in-port race kicked off on Friday, followed by Saturday's 106-mile sprint from the Abu Dhabi to Sharjah. There, the boats were loaded onto a container ship, which will carry the fleet past pirate-infested waters to a safe port in the Indian Ocean, where racing will continue with a long leg to Sanya, China.
Friday's in-port race put smiles on a lot of locals' faces when Ian Walker and his Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing teammates dominated the eight-mile course, which they dispatched in just under an hour. Groupama, Emirates Team New Zealand, Puma Ocean Racing and Telefonica followed them across the finishing line. 'We so wanted to win the race so we were prepared to take risks,' said Walker. 'We're involved in a nine-month odyssey around the world but today is the most important day for Abu Dhabi. We've never seen this many boats out on the water to watch racing, and there are lots of people out who are new to sailing. Right now all they are seeing is their country flag being waved. It's a real thrill for that to happen.'
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker from the UK during the start of leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Abu Dhab,i UAE to Sanya, China. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race) Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
Meanwhile, Saturday's 106-mile 'sprint' was likewise engaging, with the lead changing hands several times before Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing once again earned the top prize, followed by Puma Ocean Racing and Groupama.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, skippered by Ken Read from the USA during the start of leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Abu Dhab,i UAE to Sanya, China. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race) Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
'This sport is hard,' said Ken Read, skipper of Puma's Mar Mostro. 'We really didn't sail very well in the first triangle. Once we got into a drag race, the boat started to bail us out. We were going faster in the reaching conditions, and the tweaks we made certainly appeared to have helped. That's the key to these races—you have to keep getting faster every stopover. And, this is really the first stopover that we've had a chance to work on boat speed. We're pleased.'
Get the full VOR lowdown—including the scoop on Team Sanya's ongoing Leg Two ordeal—inside this issue.
Also inside, get the latest from Paul Cayard and Artemis Racing, the Challenger of Record for the 34th America's Cup, as well as updates from the IFDS Worlds, and the Clipper Around the World Race. Enjoy!
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