Following 17 days, 8 hours, 6 minutes and 38 seconds of the leg, “Telefónica” finished the sixth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race early this morning. After a heart-stopping final stretch, the boat headed up by Olympic champion Iker Martínez crossed the finishing line in Miami just 37 minutes after French entry “Groupama”. A fourth place for the Spanish team in this leg and they reach Miami maintaining the lead in the overall rankings of the regatta, although the points difference with their closest rivals have been reduced: to eleven points with second-placed “Groupama” and fifteen with third-placed “Camper”.
“We have to think about the fact that we are still in front on the leader board, which is important. This is the first ocean leg we haven't finished on the podium and I also hope it's our last. What we can do from here is prepare as we did for each of the legs and go for the next one, which is going to be both complex and tough, as well as very cold and windy, and then we'll get to Europe for the final. We're going for the next one!”, said Spanish skipper Iker Martínez just before stepping back on to dry land after more than 17 days at sea.
Yet again, a tight finish
“Telefónica” went all in against “Groupama” yesterday in the battle for third, a move which made in impact right up to the finishing line. The opportunity came for the Spaniards at one of the most central islands in the Bahamas, Cat island. The yacht changed course to put the island to port.
The play went well for Martínez and his guys who managed to move up to under two miles of the French boat, although they didn't manage to get in front of them. With fifty miles to the finish just five miles stood between the boats.
Some seven hours before the finish the French boat was trapped by a cloud and was advancing at speeds of just over two knots, whilst “Telefónica” pushed ahead at 12 knots, with the finish 25 miles away. It looked like another podium finish was a possibility for the Spanish, although in the end the French broke free from the hold-up. At 00:29 UTC the podium of the leg was complete, with the final step going to Franck Cammas and his crew. The French skipper approached Iker Martínez to greet him, even before the skipper had stepped off his yacht, congratulating him on the battle the two had shared.
“The final 300 miles have been very intense because we were just seven or eight miles from 'Groupama' the whole time, but the course meant that it was really difficult to get in front of them and when we got into the channels at the Bahamas there were very few options available. We pressured them up to the finish. Towards the end they caught a cloud and it looked like we were getting close, but it wasn't to be in the end”, said Alicante's Pepe Ribes back on shore.
Iker Martínez admitted that “the result wasn't what we wanted, especially as things were going relatively well until a few days before finishing, with everything under control more or less, the three boats leading and our rivals, the French behind and everything was looking good”.
“We fought for it right to the end, but it wasn't to be. I don't think that this result reflects the efforts everyone put in and the quality of work, but that's how it is”, added the Basque skipper.
“Puma” winner of the leg. “Telefónica”, holds on to overall lead
“Puma” is the leg winner of the sixth leg, having crossed the finishing line at 14:14 local time (18:14 UTC). An hour and seven minutes later, at 19:21 UTC, “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” finished in second place.
After a total of six legs and five in-port races Team Telefónica continues to lead at the top of the overall standings, followed by “Groupama” (11 points behind) and “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” (15 points away) and “Puma” (17 points behind).
At 06:00 UTC “Abu Dhabi” was under 28 miles from the finishing line.
Iker Martínez, skipper
The last few miles are always very intense. We were very close to "Groupama", and we were there fighting with them. The guys in front had already got away and it was impossible to catch them up unless they'd been stopped, which they weren't. "Abu Dhabi" was behind, but further away, so it was a fight between the two of us with us battling with the French right up to the finish. We tried to get past them a few times, but it wasn't possible. It is a real shame because it would have meant so much to have finished in third here and to have come in ahead of "Groupama" would have been a good result, but it wasn't to be.
Xabi Fernández, trimmer
A result when it's not a podium finish is never a good result. But it's also why the great legs we've done before this count so much and have given us the cushion in terms of points. We are still ahead, and that is always good and now what we've got to do is to rest a bit and then analyse what we did and prepare for the next one.
Pablo Arrarte, helm
The Equatorial legs are usually very hot and with light airs and you get the boat ready for those light conditions, so one of the things you cut down on is food. We knew that it was going to be this hot and that we'd suffer! You complain when it's cold and you complain when it's hot. There's nothing you can do about it, but personally I prefer the heat because the cold is a lot tougher to handle.
Pepe Ribes, boat captain
The leg was going pretty well until about 1,000 miles to go to the finish when we were 20 nautical miles from "Camper" and 40 from "Puma". At that point there was a break and a very strong anticyclone moved in and caught us. We had to gybe and look for "Groupama". The boats in front got away and the French got past us. Until then everything was going well, we were comfortable with the guys in front and a small issue in terms of positioning meant that it wasn't us on the podium today.
RANKINGS LEG 6
ITAJAÍ (BRAZIL) – MIAMI (USA): 4,800 miles
Day 18 – 5:20 UTC – 10th May 2012
1. Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read). 17d 1h 13m 59s. 30 points.
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson). 17d 2h 21m 24s. 25 points
3. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas). 17d 7h 29m 3s. 20 points
4. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez). 17d 8h 6m 38s. 15 points
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), 28.5 miles to finish
Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), DNS
PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS. Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012.
1. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 164 points
2. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas), 153 points
3. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), 149 points
4. Puma powered by Berg (Ken Read), 147 points
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), 58 points *Still to finish leg.
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), 25 points
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