Ian Roman Photography / Volvo Ocean Race

Telefonica claims Cape Town In Port Race

However Puma is on the charge once again

Saturday December 10th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: South Africa

Following their disappointing In Port Race in Alicante, Telefónica came out on top in today's Cape Town V&A Waterfront In-Port Race to strengthen their overall lead after Puma Ocean Racing powered by BERG had briefly hinted a fairytale comeback to the Volvo Ocean Race.

After her victory on the first leg from Alicante to Cape Town, the Iker Martinez-skippered Telefónica, led today's In-Port Race from the start in warm sunshine and wind averaging 14 knots in Table Bay, only for Puma to sneak past them at the first mark.

Ken Read’s team looked to be in a strong position but a sail handling error allowed Telefónica and Camper to streak past them on the way to mark 5, after which there was no way back.

Telefónica completed the Cape Town V&A Waterfront In-Port Race in 52 minutes 55 seconds, with Camper second 43 seconds behind and Puma third, a further nine seconds behind them.

“We are very happy,” said Martínez. “It was important for us to do well here in Cape Town after struggling in Alicante.”

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were fourth, Groupama sailing team fifth and Team Sanya sixth.

The result sees Telefónica consolidate first place overall on 37 points, followed by Camper with 34 and Groupama on 24. Puma and Abu Dhabi are tied on nine points, with Sanya on four.

"Second is good but unfortunately it puts us further behind the leaders on points,” said Camper skipper Chris Nicholson. “The start cost us but after the start we had a nice march on. Hats off to the guys on board. The crew work was very nice. There were some high pressure manoeuvres that came through nicely."

For Puma and the other two teams forced to retire from leg 1, it was a real achievement just to make it to the start line but today it looked like they had never been away.

Telefónica led from the beginning, blasting through the start line with their spinnaker flying to take an early gain. By mark one Puma had reeled them in, rounding 14 seconds ahead of their Spanish rivals. After splitting from the leaders after mark 1, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Groupama took advantage of a wind shift pulling back vital ground, all six teams rounding mark two within two minutes of each other.

Puma continue to lead until a crucial moment after the fourth mark when Telefónica gybed, followed by Camper. Puma choosing reaching sails while Telefónica and Camper went for downwind sails proved critical and by the time the split boats converged the Spanish team had regained the lead, Puma having to settle for third place rounding mark 5.

Read explained that they had been forced to gamble on their sails. “We blew our kite at the leeward mark when we were leading and we had to take a chance and it didn’t work,” the American skipper said. “Iker gave us a bit of an opening and I put too much pressure in the kite so I will put my hand up to that mistake.

“It was good to be racing again. The boat did its part today and I think we let the boat down. We live to fight another day. We are on the podium and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Out in front Telefónica didn’t look back, crossing the line 400 metres ahead of Camper, who took second place ahead of PUMA.

The teams are straight back in action tomorrow with the start of leg 2 at 1300 UTC/GMT.

In-Port Race Results:

1. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 52:55
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson) +0:43
3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read) +0:52
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker) +1:19
5. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas) +1:49
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson) +4:10


Pos Team Skipper Alicante Leg 1 Cape Town Tot
      in port   in port  
1 Team Telefónica Iker Martinez 1 30 6 37
2 CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ Chris Nicholson 4 25 5 34
3 Groupama Sailing Team Franck Cammas 2 20 2 24
4 PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG Ken Read 5 0 4 9
5 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Ian Walker 6 0 3 9
6 Team Sanya Mike Sanderson 3 0 1 4


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