Puma takes third
Ken Read and his crew on Puma’s Mar Mostro took third place in the first stage of the Volvo Ocean Race's Leg 2 holding off one-time leg leaders Groupama 4.
Puma crossed the finish at 2333:10 UTC, more than five hours behind Team Telefónica which snatched its second leg win earlier today by less than two minutes from Camper.
It proved a difficult leg for the Puma crew who were forced to retire from Leg 1 following their South Atlantic dismasting. “We have all had our moments, but the chemistry of the crew has never been better,” said skipper Ken Read.
The tough time began on day five, when the fleet was still attempt to nose their way through a trough/front. Although the team was briefly in and out of the top three, enjoying a battle with Telefónica for first place in trade wind sailing on day nine, and again on day 11 with Groupama 4, it was the decision to take the westerly route through the Doldrums which ultimately cost them.
They made the call to go east, a move Telefónica and Camper had made earlier with great success, but it was a late and expensive decision. On day 12, Puma was barely making five knots dropping her from second to fourth place, over 78 miles behind the leader, Telefónica.
The fight to get back in the game started on Christmas Day, when Puma started to pull back some miles. Early on Boxing Day she had passed Groupama moving her up to third place and the team managed to hold off Franck Cammas' team to claim the 16 points on offer for third place, retaining their fourth place overall.
“We went into this leg with confidence,” Read said today as he approached the finish. “It’s a bit of a shame because there were a couple of points in this leg when we did really the right thing and put ourselves in the right position, but there was really one key moment when we entered the Doldrums that didn’t work for us and that was disappointing for us for sure.
“I’m very proud of the huge amount of resolve exhibited by the entire team. First of all to get the boat back into the race under such an adverse situation in Leg 1, and then to compete to the point where we finished strong. It’s good, and something to build on.
“We do expect better from ourselves, though. It’s all well and good to finish this stage third, but we had a couple chances to get ahead in this leg and we need to just simply be better,” Read said.