Today was another great day for the Spanish Volvo Ocean Race team. With a win in the second leg between Cape Town and Abu Dhabi, “Telefónica” has strengthened her lead in the overall standings by increasing the gap with second-placed “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” to eight points in the overall standings for the regatta. A first place finish on the first stage of the leg, some 5,000 miles in length, and a second-place finish on the final 100 mile sprint from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi, “Telefónica” has now taken the overall victory in the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, a leg which originally kicked of in Cape Town (South Africa) on the 11th of December.
The second stage of Leg 2, a sprint between the city of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi (UAE) started at 09:30 local time (05:30 UTC) with 98 miles to cover. Right from the very first few miles, the Spanish boat fought mile by mile with the rest of the fleet to maintain a privileged position which was only just taken over by French boat “Groupama”, a slim 52 seconds on the final 5 miles to the finish.
A bigger lead
This first place in the leg means a fourth victory for Iker Martínez and co. so far in the round the world regatta. It also means that “Telefónica” wins the leg with five more points than New Zealand boat “Camper” and ten more than American entry “Puma”. “Groupama” finished the leg in fourth place, 11 points from “Telefónica” and “Abu Dhabi” was 19 points behind the Spanish boat, in fifth place. "Sanya" has yet to complete the first stage of Leg 2, so no official points have yet been awarded for the boat.
OVERALL RANKINGS LEG 2
CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA) – ABU DHABI (UAE): 5,430 miles
1 Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 29 points
2 Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), 24 points
3 Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), 19 points
4 Groupama Sailing Team (Franck Cammas), 18 points
5 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), 10 points
Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), results for Leg 2 pending
PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012.
1. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 66 points
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), 58 points
3. Groupama Sailing Team (Franck Cammas), 42 points
4. Puma powered by Berg (Ken Read), 28 points
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), 19 points
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), results pending
QUOTES FROM THE CREW ON ARRIVAL AT ABU DHABI
IKER MARTÍNEZ, Skipper.
It went really well and it was great fun. We were really fighting for it from the moment we left Sharjah and we put ourselves on a good course and went very fast. We were in front and “Groupama” came up from behind very, very fast and were fighting it out over many miles right up until the finish. It was really interesting and they did a better job and took 20 metres or so on us, just enough to get past. We were very close, there must have been 10 or 20 metres in it, not even one hundred and they skimmed past us.
We are all really happy because we won the leg and not only that, but we were able to boost our lead at the top of the overall scoreboard...so that's fantastic!
XABI FERNÁNDEZ, Trimmer.
On today's race:
The race went well and it was a great day for sailing. We got some 15, 20 and 25 knots the whole day, starting on a close haul of 17 miles which took a couple of hours. It was a tight start, as always, and even though there are only five boats out there, no one is giving an inch. It was definitely 'tight' out there and going into the breeze went well for us. We managed to round the first mark a couple of lengths ahead of “Camper”. After that we got 44 miles of a more open course and that's where we really pushed ahead of “Camper”. We are happy with the boat and the set-up we've got because it's really doing well.
It was a bit of a shame that we had managed to keep up with a boat that runs faster than we do in certain conditions, with breeze on the beam and they didn't get past and then we got the breeze coming in from behind and they slipped past us. We are really happy that we won the leg though and there's no forgetting that.
Evaluation of the second leg:
We've won the leg and we've pushed five points further away from a close rival, “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand”. We finished eleven points away from “Groupama”, which is definitely the second boat pushing in on us and the overall balance of the leg is definitely extremely positive.
We've already talked a lot about the first stage of the leg. It was tough, it was close and we managed to win it at the last minute. This stage of the leg was a lot shorter but also incredibly intense, with a great final result.
Plans for the next few days:
The schedule is yet again pretty tight with the whole process we've had to go through here. The boat will come up off the water tomorrow and the shore crew will be giving it as thorough a once-over as they can. The boat will be three or four days off the water, max. After that there'll be some training for the in-port race, which is also very important and there's normally less breeze around here, because we really did get lucky today with some great breeze. The usual for around here is lighter breeze and it's a real struggle.
PEPE RIBES, Boat Captain “Telefónica”.
We are very happy. It turned out to be rather a different leg to what we had imagined when we were at cape Town, but we've been able to fight the whole way, without giving up and even going from the very back to the top spot from South Africa. So we are really happy with how the boat's performed and the crew.
In terms of the final sprint, we knew “Groupama” was very fast with breeze on the beam in the conditions we were getting and we had the upper hand up to the buoy. There came a moment when we hoisted the spinnaker and they luffed and we didn't follow them. They then got past on the windward side and after that we just couldn't get to them. “Groupama” is a very fast yacht.
I weigh up the fact that we had to do the leg in two stages as positive overall, as it's the same for us all and it was safer that way. The next few days will be for resting and for getting back into gear for an in-port race, yet again, and another leg start. We'll be training for the in-port in three days' time.
PABLO ARRARTE, Helmsman.
On the leg finish
We were in front the whole way. On the first upwind leg we got in front and it was tight, first with “Camper” and then “Groupama”, who can get up to some really fast speeds with breeze on the beam. We managed to not let them get past for 80 miles in those conditions and on the last ten miles, going downwind, we were fighting tooth and nail and the French just managed to slip past us.
We are very happy all the same because we are leg winners and that's great and we also finished ahead of “Camper”, so we've got a few more points there.
Above all, today was a great day to see the difference between the yachts. We were all pretty bunched together and we got to see how each other perform with different angles, so that was good. We've got to keep on working.
On the features of the leg
Obviously, all of these breaks after such a long leg... Stopping for five days, having to load the boat onto the ship so that it can cover the miles that we can't because of the pirates, starting another short leg and then spending quite a while here, another in-port, then we set off again, then we have to load the boat back onto another ship... Well, it's hard for us. Bringing the boat down off a ship and then starting a fifteen-day leg the next day is a bit risky, because anything can happen on the ship, there's a risk involved for the boat, getting her into the cradle, bringing her down etc... If you have a problem it can be fatal, but we are all in the same position and you have to get on with it, accept it and we are happy all the same.
On the boost in confidence given by winning
We are not sitting back. We know we've done a good job up until now, we've sailed well, few errors, not big hitches with the boat, but we are well-aware that this is a very long regatta and anything can happen. We also know that there will be bad legs and you just have to hope. We hope that we won't get them, of course, but we are aware that they may come along.
No, we're not realxing. We are working as hard as we have been from Day 1: full on. I will say that being on the top spot is definitely an added boost and you feel happier, so when you're in the lead things tend to go more smoothly. We need to make the most of this, but not get too comfortable. We need to keep putting in the hard work and to take this leg by leg.
What's in store in Abu Dhabi?
Above all physical training. We have to keep working hard in the gym so as not to lose muscle mass and to keep active. The boat will finally be lifted up onto shore and we can get a good look at anything that might have been damaged and carry out repairs with the shore crew. The boat will be off the water for three days and we'll be taking a look, but also having a rest before we get back to sailing again. We hope to get three or four days of sailing in before the in-port to practice manoeuvres, train up a bit and then we've got another leg to take on. They'll be no stopping work.
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