PUMA’s Mar Mostro demonstrated its speed up the Sharjah coastline today, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, as the PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG team finished in second place in the first stage of Leg 3 in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. The PUMA crew captured five points with a time of 16:31:01, finishing only 1 minute, 16 seconds behind Abu Dhabi as the fleet began the journey from Abu Dhabi, UAE, to the next port of Sanya, China. PUMA remains in the fourth position overall with 36 points.
“This sport is hard. We really didn’t sail very well in the first triangle. Once we got into a drag race, the boat started to bail us out,” said skipper Ken Read. “We were going faster in the reaching conditions, and the tweaks we made certainly appeared to have helped. That’s the key to these races – you have to keep getting faster every stopover. And, this is really the first stopover that we’ve really had a chance to work on boat speed. We’re pleased.”
The fleet departed Abu Dhabi at 10:00 UTC/14:00 local, and PUMA was near the back of the pack throughout most of the most of the trip around the buoys. They were the last boat to sail off from Abu Dhabi, but the set-up changed as the fleet headed off shore for the 98 nautical mile up the coastline. In a close race throughout the journey, the entire fleet crossed the finish line less that 10 minutes apart.
“We’re pleased with the adjustments we made, but there’s a long way to go.,” Read said. “Clearly there are some improvements we need to make for the short courses. But, we’ve had enough bad fortune, and we’ll take a little good fortune as it was today and hopefully build upon it.”
As was the case with Leg 2, the Leg 3 route has been redrawn and split into two stages due to the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean. Stage 1 was the one-day sprint up the Sharjah coastline. Tomorrow, Sunday, January 15, the boats will get loaded onto a ship to be transported back to the safe haven port they first arrived at during Leg 2. After unloading all of the boats, the second part of Leg 3 will get underway with the teams racing to the fourth port of Sanya, China. Leg 3, Stage 2 will begin around January 23 where 80 percent of the available leg points will be awarded.