Telefonica's Volvo Ocean Race decline

Photo: Maria Muina/Telefonica
On daggerboard and rudder breakages and the Spanish VO70's secret interceptor
It would be fair to describe Telefonica as having been ‘robbed’ in this Volvo Ocean Race. After winning the first three legs, then just remaining on the podium into New Zealand (when they passed Camper just before the line) and into Itajai, despite suffering significant delamination and core sheer while crossing the Pacific, since then the fortunes of Iker Martinez’ Spanish team have taken a dive. Some tactical errors led them to lose places on the leg into Miami and since then the team has been beset with some unfortunate technical problems – a broken daggerboard three days out from the finish of leg seven into Lisbon, following an alleged collision with a whale, where for the second leg in a row they beat Camper to the finish line to claim fourth place. Nonetheless this caused them to lose first place with Franck Cammas’ Groupama taking the lead with a three point advantage. The Spanish team’s situation was made no easier by coming last in the In-Port race in Lisbon, their fourth in-port DFL (although they won the Sanya in-port). And then on leg eight Telefonica experienced a bizarre double rudder breakage, that caused them to reach Lorient in fifth place, plummeting the one time runaway leaders to fourth place, now 28 points behind leader Groupama, although on equal points with third placed Camper and within five points of Puma in second. With a maximum of 47 points left on the table there is an outside chance of catching the French, but the prospects of the Spanish team winning on their third attempt at the fully crewed round the world race are now all but over. Rudder breakage is rare but does happen in the Volvo Ocean Race. Sanya broke the stock of their starboard rudder inside the boat early on in trans-Pacific