ABU DHABI, UAE- The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG team collected three points with a fourth-place finish in the Etihad Airways In-Port Race on Friday, January 13, in Abu Dhabi, UAE – the third port of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing landed on top of the podium in their home port, followed by Groupama in second and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in third. PUMA ended with a time of 1:02.26, and remains in fourth place in the overall standings with 31 total points.
“We’re pretty demoralized at a umpire’s call on the first leg that essentially wrecked the race for us,” said skipper Ken Read. “We have to go talk to them to find out what they saw, because what they saw and what we saw are very different. So, we’ll get that sorted and move on to tomorrow. The good news is we have a quick turnaround to go redeem ourselves and not dwell on it. The bad news is we just lost a couple more points. It’s a shame because we really liked our spot.”
PUMA took a quick leap to lead off the starting line after a downwind start before being forced to make a penalty turn due to a port-starboard call by the on-the-water judges. While the penalty turn was underway, the rest of the fleet slipped by and made the most of the downwind stretch. PUMA’s Mar Mostro and crew gradually closed the gap toward the second mark and rolled past Team Telefónica to move to fourth – the position they held through the end of the race.
“Unfortunately, we had a penalty right off the start line. We thought we were completely clear on Telefónica, and the umpires saw it the other way,” said Kelvin Harrap, inshore tactician. “It set our whole race up – having to do a penalty turn in 9-10 knots of win puts us 3 minutes behind everyone straight off the bat. Obviously everyone was frustrated, and we just ran out of time to get on the podium. We’ve now got to pick our game up.”
Leg 3 of the race begins Saturday, January 14, beginning with an 8 nautical mile in-port loop, followed by a 98 nautical mile sprint up the Sharjah coastline. Start time is 10:00 UTC/14:00 local in Abu Dhabi.
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. In Stage 1, the teams will race in one-day sprint out of Abu Dhabi on Saturday, sailing up the Sharjah coastline. The boats will then 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.
The start of Leg 3 will be streamed live online at www.volvooceanrace.com and on the live section of the Volvo Ocean Race YouTube channel: youtube.com/volvooceanracevideos. Streaming begins five minutes before the 10-minute warning signal. Also visit www.volvooceanrace.com for complete television broadcast information in local markets.