Spanish fight to the finish

Delta Lloyd pipped to the post for fifth place into Boston

Monday April 27th 2009, Author: Peter Rusch, Location: United Kingdom
The fight for fifth place in leg six of the Volvo Ocean Race went down to the wire today between two Spaniards, Fernando Echávarri on Telefónica Black versus Roberto Bérmudez at the helm of the generation one VO70, Delta Lloyd.

After a tremendous battle, Telefónica Black crossed the finish ahead of Delta Lloyd and claimed the four points on offer for fifth place, finishing at 0948 GMT (0448 local). Delta Lloyd crossed at 1010 GMT (0510 local). She adds three points to her overall tally.

On stepping ashore, Echávarri was downbeat: “We have made quite a lot of mistakes this leg, but we are happy to pass Delta Lloyd, but it was a disappointing leg with a few problems. We didn’t route well in some places, but we did well in others. It is good to be in Boston with our families and friends here.”

In contrast, Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bérmudez was delighted with his result: “I am really happy with this leg. We were fighting until the end and there is a good feeling onboard. Everyone is really happy for all the new people on the team who did a really good job and the boat is better now. Nothing big has broken and we’ve still got two months to keep fighting.”

Both boats had sat out leg five from Qingdao to Rio after suffering serious damage on leg four forcing retirement from the leg. With refreshed crews, both teams were expecting to put in a good performance and neither crew was prepared to give an inch.

Telefónica Black raced this leg with only nine sailing crew after South African bowman Mike Pammenter damaged his ankle in a manoeuvre as the fleet left Guanabara Bay within hours of the start. He was taken off the boat by RIB with a suspected broken ankle.

“It was hard without Mike Pammenter. It was quite easy to sail with the crew, but in important moments, like squalls at night, it was difficult. Mike does play an important and physical role but we managed as best we could,” Echávarri said.

Delta Lloyd put in a particularly sparkling performance earlier in the leg, rounding the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha in third place, just seconds ahead of Puma which finished yesterday in fourth place. The team also had two spells in second place before dropping back through the pack on day nine.

Navigator Wouter Verbraak, who began the race as navigator on Team Russia, moved to Green Dragon for leg five and is now navigating Delta Lloyd said: “I really enjoyed this trip. It has been beautiful sailing and everyone is keen to improve and make the best of what we have. We did so many sail changes and, by the end, we were flawless. Improvement is a long and difficult journey, communication and working as a team takes time. The spirit was very good and no one complained, they just got on with it.”

The final boat to finish will be Green Dragon, which has approximately 38 nm to run.

Leg Six Finishing Order Boston
1. Ericsson 4: 8 points
2. Ericsson 3: 7 points
3. Telefónica Blue: 6 points
4. Puma: 5 points
5. Telefónica Black: 4 points
6. Delta Lloyd: 3 points

Overall Leaderboard (Provisional)
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) 77.5 points (FINISHED)
2. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) 64.5 points (FINISHED)
3. Puma (Ken Read/USA) 64.0 points (FINISHED )
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE) 53.0 points (FINISHED)
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) 42.0 points (RACING)
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) 29.0 points (FINISHED)
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bérmudez/ESP) 21.0 points (FINISHED)
8. Team Russia 10.5 points (DNS)

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