Bound for Stockholm

Puma and Telefonica Blue to slog it out for second on the Volvo Ocean Race's penultimate leg

Saturday June 13th 2009, Author: Lizzie Green, Location: United Kingdom
The sun returned to Marstrand today as the skippers sat down to discuss the forthcoming Leg 9, the short Swedish sprint down to Sandhamn off the coast of Stockholm. The leg measures just 525 nautical miles, but as it winds down the coast of Sweden, it promises to offer up numerous challenges to the fleet.

Ericsson 4, who sit atop the overall leaderboard, are strongly positioned to win the Volvo Ocean Race on this leg. Skipper Torben Grael and his team have a 15 point margin over second placed, with just 20 points available to any team that runs the table the rest of the way. Grael says although they're happy with their position, it's not quite over yet.

"It is a good position where we are, there's no doubt about it, but we still have to keep racing the boat to Stockholm," he said. "It's a nice leg for us, being a Swedish team, and we're all looking forward to getting there."

Behind him, the tightest battle on the leaderboard is between Puma and Telefonica Blue for second place. Puma skipper Ken Read has used two consecutive second place leg finishes to overhaul his rival Bouwe Bekking on the Blue boat and he now holds a tenuous, one-point grip on second place. This fight seems destined to run down to the finish line off St Petersburg.

The two can afford to focus upon each other now. Ericsson 3, in fourth place, is too far behind to catch them. So with guaranteed spots on the podium, the fight is for second place.

"We're in this race to win," said Puma skipper Ken Read. "But you're in a race like this to win every individual battle, and we've got a good battle now with Telefonica Blue. We're fighting against possibly the best boat ( Telefonica Blue) in the conditions we're likely to be sailing in... Second place is a big deal for us. The podium was always the goal for a single boat, start-up programme like Puma. It kills me to say this, but second place would be a hell of a result and something to be very proud of."

It won't be easy. Telefonica Blue is renowned for its pace in lighter conditions and flat water. "It's more than possible that we're both sixth and seventh in the next two legs, but I think you still have to try to sail your own race," said Telefonica Blue skipper Bouwe Bekking, when asked if he thought they'd be match racing PUMA. "If you can build up a little buffer of a couple of miles, it gets easier. Winning (the leg) is nice, but it's not a priority right now. We're looking for second place."

Behind the top three, other rivalries are building as the leaderboard gets tighter. Green Dragon has posted two consecutive podium finishes to draw within 5.5 points of Ericsson 3. Similarly, Delta Lloyd is trying to reel in Telefonica Black, with the Spanish boat 7 points ahead of the Dutch entry.

The forecast is for moderate conditions at the start of the leg, with the winds likely to ease as the leg progresses.

Crew lists:

1. Roberto Bermúdez De Castro/ESP – skipper
2. Wouter Verbraak/NED – navigator
3. Sander Pluijm/NED – media crew member
4. Stuart Wilson/NZL – watch captain
5. Nick Bice/AUS – watch captain
6. Andre Fonseca/BRA – helmsman
7. Ben Costello/NZL – helmsman
8. Ed Van Lierde/NED – trimmer
9. David Pella/ESP – trimmer
10. Gerd-Jan Poortman/NED – bowman
11. Morgan White/AUS - bowman

No changes

1. Torben Grael/BRA - skipper
2. Jules Salter/GBR - navigator
3. Guy Salter/GBR - MCM
4. Brad Jackson/NZL – watch captain
5. Stu Bannatyne/NZL – watch captain
6. Dave Endean/NZL - pitman
7. Horacio Carabelli/BRA - trimmer
8. Tony Mutter/NZL - trimmer
9. Joao Signorini/BRA - trimmer
10. Ryan Godfrey/AUS - bowman
11. Phil Jameson/NZL – bowman

No changes

1. Magnus Olsson/SWE – skipper
2. Aksel Magdahl/NOR - navigator
3. Gustav Morin/SWE MCM
4. Thomas Johanson/FIN – helmsman/trimmer
5. Eivind Melleby/NOR - helmsman
6. Richard Mason/NZL - watch captain
7. Martin Strömberg/SWE – trimmer
8. Jens Dolmer/DEN - pitman
9. Anders Dahlsjö/SWE - bowman
10. Martin Krite/SWE - bowman
11. Arve Roaas/NOR – trimmer/helmsman

On: Eivind Melleby/NOR - helmsman
Off: Magnus Woxén/SWE –helmsman/trimmer

1. Ian Walker/GBR - skipper
2. Ian Moore/IRL – navigator
3. Guo Chuan/CHN - MCM
4. Neal McDonald/GBR – watch captain
5. Damian Foxall/IRL – watch captain
6. Anthony Merrington/AUS – helmsman/trimmer
7. Phil Harmer/AUS – helmsman/trimmer
8. Andrew Mclean/NZL – pitman/trimmer
9. Justin Slattery/IRL – bowman
10. Freddy Shanks/GBR – bowman
11. James Carroll/IRL - trimmer

On: Guo Chuan/CHN - MCM
Off: Huang Jian CHN – MCM

1. Ken Read/USA - skipper
2. Andrew Cape/AUS - navigator
3. Rick Deppe/GBR MCM
4. Erle Williams/NZL – watch captain
5. Robert Greenhalgh/GBR – watch captain
6. Robert Salthouse/NZL – helmsman/trimmer
7. Justin Ferris/NZL – helmsman/trimmer
8. Shannon Falcone/ANT – bowman/pitman
9. Casey Smith/AUS – bowman/helmsman
10. Michael Müller/GER – helmsman/bowman
11. Craig Satterthwaite NZL – trimmer/driver
No changes

1. Bouwe Bekking/NED - skipper
2. Simon Fisher/GBR - navigator
3. Gabriele Olivo/ITA – MCM
4. Iker Martinez/ESP - helmsman
5. Jonathan Swain/RSA – watch captain
6. Jordi Calafat ESP – helmsman
7. Xabier Fernandez/ESP - trimmer
8. Pablo Arrarte/ESP Spanish - trimmer
9. Laurent Pages/FRA – helmsman
10. Daryl Wislang/NZL - bowman
11. Pepe Ribes/ESP - bowman
On: Simon Fisher/GBR – navigator
Off: Tom Addis/AUS - navigator

1. Fernando Echávarri/ESP – skipper
2. Roger Nilson/SWE – navigator
3. Anton Paz/ESP – MCM
4. Antonio (Ñeti) Cuervas-Mons/ESP – bowman
5. Gonzalo Araujo/ESP – watch captain
6. Jaime Arbones/ESP – watch captain
7. Pablo Iglesias/ESP – helmsman
8. Javier de la Plaza/ESP – helmsman
9. David Vera/ESP - trimmer
10. Maciel Cicchetti/ARG – trimmer
11. Michael Pammenter/RSA - bowman
No changes

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