Looking surprisingly relaxed given the slow light winds which had slowed them through their final miles, Mike Golding and Javier Sanso fin ished the Transat Jacques Vabre on a perfect Caribbean morning, arriving into Costa Rica’s historic Puerto Limon – where in 1502 Christopher Columbus landed – to secure a hard won third place in race which winner Marc Guillemot had described as the toughest of his career.
Sailing upwind through the gentle, long swell in just a gentle breeze Golding and Sanso eased the IMOCA Open 60 Mike Golding Yacht Racing through the finish line in the early morning to be greeted by a large, colourful and noisy crowd. Mike Golding Yacht Racing finished at 8:59 in the morning, Costa Rica time, 14:59h GMT. Their time for the course from Le Havre is 17 days, 1 hour, 29 minutes and 38 seconds, finishing 1 day, 6 hours, 7 minutes and 28 seconds after the first placed IMOCA Open 60 monohull Safran.
The duo played their stealth card for the final stage of the race, a spoiler just in case there was any unexpected, major slow down in the final hours of the race, but in the end it was not needed as they never stopped moving through the last hours, trimming hard until the finish gun confirmed their success.
For Golding’s sixth Transat Jacques Vabre, it is the fourth time he has been in the top three, sailing three different IMOCA Open 60′s. But this was one of the toughest races, he explained on the dock. As well as two big storms which battered them through the second part of the first week, the duo struggled with a debilitating sequence of small problems which affected their ability to stay with the electric pace set by the leading pair, Safran and G roupe Bel.
But, given that their partnership was only forged a couple of weeks before the start, both were openly happy with their third placed finish.
” It is a good result for Javier and I. We were literally thrown together in the last weeks for the preparation before the race. So for both of us it is a good result. We had no training time. The boat has not sailed this summer, the shore time did a great job in the preparation in the time scale, but we just had not put the time in on the water. So you lok at Groupe Bel and Safran and you see two good boats, which are rightful first and second. They are well sailed, great teams and good boats. But we know in another world we could have done better but third for us is a good result,” commented Golding.
He added: ” In the scheme of things it was a pretty tough race, obviously we were going to be challenged from the outset. We looked at the southerly option and we came to the conclusion it was not a go-er in terms of competitiveness. The reality is it was downgraded but the reality was it was pretty horrible, but after that it was pretty fast and furious. We had some technical problems which hindered us a little bit more, but overall very pleased to be here, pleased to be third.”
They proved their tenacity, durability and experience when they weathered the second big storm, during which they had to constantly tend to the boat’s course due to limitations with their autopilot. They emerged from the storm in good shape and lay second for three days, but having lost both sets of wind indicators of f the top of their mast, they were compromised from there on in.
But, having lost his mast while leading the Vendée Globe which has then lead to a long re-fit for his IMOCA Open 60 which included updating the head of the keel, Golding has not sailed many miles with the re-fitted boat this summer.
For Sanso’s perspective he was delighted with the result especially after the storm shortly after the start and the electrical issues in the closing stages: “It was a pretty tough race and we are happy with the result. Certainly when I look back and remember being in Le Havre and looking around at the standard of the fleet, and all the rock-stars of the IMOCA Open 60 world, I am very pleased to be in here with this result. Yes, it is a little frustrating that we had our problems which held us back, our electrics, battery and engine problems, but in the end it is a good result to be proud of. It was tough in the big storm. I don’t mind telling you we were down bel ow for a time just ready for whatever was going to happen, lifejackets on, harnesses on, but the thing is it was so bad outside I don’t know what we would have done.”
British skipper Mike Golding is relishing his imminent return to racing on the Open 60 which will be known as ‘Mike Golding Yacht Racing’ for this edition of the biennial race.
“It has not been easy to get ready in time. It has been a heavy schedule with the Extreme 40 and preparing the ’60′ but it has been nice to get back on the Open 60 but the boat is going well. With the re-fit and everything it has been maybe a little bit ‘lastminute.com’ but we are here and I think the boat is in good shape and we are in good shape and I am really looking forward to going racing again.”
Golding sounded buoyant and pleased as he brought Mike Golding Yacht Racing into Le Havre along with his Spanish co-skipper Javier ‘Bubi’ Sanso.
“It certainly is good to be here. It was never a foregone conclusion we would do this race, and it was on and off a bit, so it feels particularly good now arriving here. It really puts the stamp on our participation.” Golding remarked after completing an aerial photo and video shoot prior to entering the famous start port.
A small positive to emerge from Golding’s unfortunate dismasting while leading the last epic edition of the Vendée Globe is that the Open 60 has a number of new, replacement sails. Mike Golding Yacht Racing has a new mainsail, fractional spinnaker and new Solent headsail.
Despite the frailties of the global economy the IMOCA Open 60 has attracted a strong entry.
“To be honest I have not followed who has been doing what sailing through the summer. A lot of the Vendée competitors are back a nd I know a lot of the French teams have been doing a lot of training which will make them very strong, so it is a good line up for sure. A lot who did not complete the Vendée course are back for retribution.”
“I think the change of course will be interesting. The change to Costa Rica means there is no Doldrums. Historically we have done well in this race and so I am really looking forward to it. If it is ‘normal’ weather then it could be a good race.”
Of his co-skipper, Sansó, who sailed Golding’s previous IMOCA O pen 60, (ex-Ecover 2) to a narrow fourth place in the last Barcelona World Race with Pachi Rivero – missing out on the podium by a matter of hours to Golding’s 2005 TJV co-skipper Dominique Wavre – Golding affirms: “He is very good. We get on well. He is very stable and very tough and has good Open 60 experience, and having sailed the older Ecover, it is not all completely new to him.”
Sansó’s first few days on board with Golding have been a learning experience, but an enjoyable and positive one.
“The set up is similar in many ways to the Mutua Madrilena. Obviously there are a lot of improvements and the boat is more powerful and quicker, but it is very similar. We had up to 19-20 knots of breeze at times and some perfect sailing. I really want to do well in this race. It is such an opportunity to learn.”
An early initiation into the Golding signature dish, the breakfast fry-up is an unexpected luxury for Sanso:
“Mike cooked a great bacon and eggs t his morning. He eats well on board and I like that.”
Mike Golding TJV
1999 – third place (Co-skipper – Ed Danby)
2001 – second place (Co-skipper – Marcus Hutchinson)
2003 – third place (Co-skipper – Brian Thompson)
2005 – fourth place (Co-skipper – Dominique Wavre)
2007 – fifth place (Co-skipper – Bruno Dubois)
About Mike Golding and Mike Golding Yacht Racing
Mike Golding is a British racing skipper who principally competes on the IMOCA (International Monohull Open Class Association) World Championship circuit. Mike is also managing director of Mike Golding Yacht Racing (MGYR) Ltd, a business that offers yacht racing sponsorship opportunities and organises bespoke sailing events.
MGYR is a professional yacht racing business, founded in 2001 as a partnership between Mike and Jørgen Philip-Sørensen CBE, with a clear purpose to compete and win on the water and to deliver value to its sponsor partners in the boardroom.
In 2005/6 Mike was world champion in both the IMOCA and FICO (Forum International de la Course au Large) oceanic classes. In 2007 Mike was awarded an OBE for services to the sport of sailing.
On Sunday night in St. Petersburg, the final prizegiving was an opportunity to remember and celebrate all that has happened on this magnificent adventure.
It was an emotional evening, with all of the teams, their families and friends finally able to truly relax after living in the pressure-cooker of the past nine months. It was also time to say goodbye, with most of the teams disbanding as early as Monday, airplane tickets taking them to all corners of the globe already in hand, booked months in advance.
The most poignant moment came with the inaugaral awarding of the Hans Horrevoets Rookie Trophy, which was created in memory of Hans, who was lost at sea during the last edition of the race. The Dutchman was washed over the side of ABN AMRO TWO on the transatlantic leg. He had played a key role in ABN AMRO’s unique and ambitious project to help young talent break into the top level of offshore sailing.
His wife, Petra, was on hand to present the award and her emotional speech saw even the most hardened of sailors wiping tears from their eyes.
The award was created to recognise a rookie sailor who was younger than 30 when the event commenced. Each skipper was asked to nominate a who has shown a significant drive to make an improvement to their own skills and to the skills of the team and who has shown a significant contribution in strengthening the team onboard. The Race Committee made a selection from those nominated.
Images by Rick Tomlinson and Dave Kneale / Volvo Ocean Race
(click on image to enlarge)
The winner of the inaugural Hans Horrevoets Rookie Trophy is Michi Mueller from PUMA Ocean Racing, whom skipper Ken Read said had grown from a raw, untested rookie, into a linch-pin of the team.
It was a good night for PUMA as the Inmarsat Media Prize went to Rick Deppe, who was recognised for his outstanding work across the entire race. Deppe won the prize for leg 10 (his fourth win), as well as the overall prize (which included a cheque for 10,000 euros), and he was quick to pay tribute to his colleagues, asking all of the media crew members to join him on stage.
Presenting the prize, Perry Melton, COO, Inmarsat said: “The Volvo Ocean Race selected Fleet Broadband before its launch. They have described its global performance as flawless. We are delighted that the innovation of media crew members was paired with our newest service to deliver media coverage from the harshest of maritime conditions.”
The advent of the media crew members has allowed the race to secure HD footage that has never been recorded in past races, when regular crew were asked to to double duty as media men as well. In this race, the media crew members have not been allowed to participate in the sailing of the boat. As a result, they are more like ‘embedded reporters’, bringing the true story of their teams to life.
Deppe wasn’t the only media crew recognised on the night. Green Dragon’s Guo Chaun was presented with a new market media award in recognition of the media interest generated across China.
The Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Seamanship Award was given to the PUMA Ocean Racing shore crew (Neil Cox, Sean Healey, Will Oxley and Kimo Worthington) for rending assistance to Telefonica Blue, after they ran aground at the start of Leg 9 in Marstrand.
And finally, to the sailing teams themselves. All eight teams were recognised for their achievements while Ericsson 4, the winner of the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race, was presented with the ‘Fighting Finish’ trophy by Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, patron of the Volvo Ocean Race; a just reward for a team that has dominated the competition, securing the overall title in Stockholm, with one in-port race, and one offshore leg to spare.
In closing the ceremonies, Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad paid tribute to his team in addition to all of the sailing teams and was already looking forward to the start of the next race, in 2011 in Alicante, Spain.
Following the formalities, the celebrations started in full force and continued long into the night and indeed well into the morning. With no more racing scheduled, there was no reason to stop the party. Until next time, this is, the end of the road.
Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 Prizes
Best 24-hour run - Ericsson 4, 596.6 nautical miles
Hans Horrevoets Rookie Trophy - Michi Mueller, PUMA Ocean Racing
Inmarsat Media Prize – Rick Deppe, PUMA Ocean Racing
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Seamanship Award - PUMA Ocean Racing shore crew
Volvo Ocean Race, 3rd place – Telefonica Blue
Volvo Ocean Race, 2nd place – PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race, 1st place – Ericsson 4
It was an historic moment tonight in St Petersburg, Russia, when as the
White Night turned to dawn the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, led by Telefónica
Black in a thrilling climax, crossed the tenth and final finish line of
this nine-month, 37,000 nm race around the world.
Spanish skipper, Fernando Echávarri said, ³It¹s a prize for all the crew and
all the shore crew. We have been trying to do it in all the legs but
couldn¹t; this was our last chance. We had a nice battle with PUMA in the
last 100 miles. We are really happy.
“It has been really difficult. We prepared the boat for light conditions and
the first 150 miles we had more wind than expected so we suffered a lot.
Then it got lighter and we got faster. We have been fighting with PUMA,
Telefónica Blue and Ericsson 3 for the last 250 miles. It has been really
close. It has been like a match race. I don¹t know how many tacks we have
done! It is a great way to finish the Volvo Ocean Race. I am really proud of
everyone in the group. They have done an excellent job.”
Victory for Telefónica Black was hard-fought and a match race developed with
PUMA, who had led the fleet for the majority of this 400-mile sprint from
Stockholm. At just after midnight GMT and while on the additional triangle
added to lengthen the course, Telefónica Black gained a small advantage,
which translated into a two and a half boat length win, denying PUMA a
second leg win in a row. However, with a total of 105.5 points, PUMA takes
second place overall.
PUMA skipper Kenny Read said: “Congratulations to all those guys, they have
worked very hard for their first leg win. We will take our second and our
second overall. You know what? We just sailed around the world. I guess I
said a thousand times that we know no other way but to make it hard for
ourselves. It¹s a shame, because we usually win these close battles and
today we didn¹t.
“The big picture is we finished this race, everyone is safe and the boat has
been spectacular. We flew the flag well for Volvo and I think we flew the
flag well for PUMA. We have everything to be proud of. Relief is the right
word. Right now, it is relief and, as always, we are a pretty tired group
onboard. Let the celebrations begin because all the group deserves it.”
Images by Dave Kneale and Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race
(click on image to enlarge )
Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) filled the third spot both on leg 10 and
overall, to close the team¹s account on 98 points.
Bekking said on finishing: “We’re tired and hungry! It has been full on.
Lots of tacking. It was a beautiful leg in that it was sunny. But we have
been a bit unlucky. That¹s how it goes. But well done to the Telefónica
Black boys, they deserved to win. They had a superb leg. Good for them. We
were all very close. It is a very nice feeling to have finished and got all
the boys home safely. We had a podium finish which is nice as well.”
Fourth place finishers tonight and fourth overall with 78.5 points was
Ericsson 3 and Swedish skipper, Magnus Olsson was exhausted. “I feel so
tired I cannot say anything! Everybody is happy because they have sailed
around the world, but they are also very tired. After a day or two we can
say more intelligent things. You always want to do well in every leg, but
this was special because it was the short one and the last one. We were up
there so we are happy, but we couldn¹t keep up until the finish. They beat
us fair and square.”
Runaway overall leaders, with a final tally of 114.5 points and nine points
clear of PUMA, Torben Grael and his 10 crew of Ericsson 4 finished this leg
in fifth place. In an interview with Guy Swindells, skipper Torben Grael,
who raced every offshore leg with the same crew, was reflective in his
comments as overall victory in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 finally became a
“I think it is a mixed feeling because we know this is the end of the story
for the project. It¹s a funny feeling because some of these guys you have
never met before and you become like brothers. Now we go our own ways and
it¹s a strange feeling.
“On the other hand it has been a long race. It was a very long race around
the world. We are completely drained and tired so I think everyone is
looking forward to a nice rest. We have had a wonderful time. We enjoyed our
training time in Lanzarote and the race as well. We have had our ups and
downs, but it has been fun. After we won, it was a bit of a relaxing leg. It
has been so intense and so consuming so I think it is normal that after you
achieve your goals you relax. I am very glad for Telefónica Black and
Fernando and his guys for winning this last leg.”
Green Dragon kept her slender lead over Delta Lloyd to finish the leg in
sixth place, and fifth overall with 67 points.
To conclude the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, Delta Lloyd, the only generation
one Volvo Open 70 to compete in the race, finished shortly after Green
Dragon to finish the race on a total of 41.5 points.
Skipper Roberto Bermúdez said: ³We made a good job and everyone enjoyed
their time. Everyone is happy and that is the most important thing. It
started well but then there was some fighting with the Dragons. They did a
fantastic job with the manoeuvres and I say congratulations to them for
that. It has been fun.²
Ian Walker, skipper of Green Dragon, should have the last word:
³It is a privilege to sail in this fantastic race and I am very proud to
have had the chance. I am proud of every member of our team, and I am proud
of what we have achieved together. We promised to give it everything and to
never, ever give up and that is exactly what we have done. We haven¹t won
this race, but we have won many battles and achieved more than many dreamed
possible. It has been a very special year.²
The full story of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 is chronicled in Mark
Chisnell¹s book, Spanish Castle to White Night, published in October. Order
your copy now: http://www.volvooceanrace.org/multimedia/book/
Overall Leaderboard (provisional)
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 114.5 points
2. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 105.5 points
3. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 98.0 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 78.5 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 67.0 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP): 58.0
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 41.5 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points
Leg Ten Finishing Order St Petersburg
1. Telefónica Black
3. Telefónica Blue
4. Ericsson 3
5. Ericsson 4
6. Green Dragon
7. Delta Lloyd
Telefonica Black skippered by Fernando Echavarr
Telefonica Wins Leg 10 of the Volvo Ocean Race In St Petersburg just minutes ago after a fierce battle between them and PUMA Ocean Racing for the last miles of the race.
TELEFONICA BLACK finished at 00:41:25 GMT – Elapsed leg time 1 day, 12 hours, 41 minutes 25 seconds – Total Race Time 87 days, 1 hour, 31 minutes 20 seconds
In the final run-in to the finish, Telefonica Black on starboard crosses in front of PUMA by 2.5 boat-lengths, and allows PUMA to carry on out to the south and tack on what looks like a layline to the finish.
Telefonica Black tacks onto port, and now has to maintain enough of their early advantage to cross clear in front as they come back together, as Ken Read has the right of way now PUMA has tacked to starboard.
Telefonica Black crosses in front of PUMA and tacks. Ken Read goes for speed and tries to get through to leeward. Both boats can sail straight to the finish, so it’s all about who has their bow forward. It’s Telefonica Black, quicker, and pulling out to a couple of lengths lead. It’s Telefonica Black, taking Leg 10.
“It’s a prize for all of the crew, all of the shore crew. We have been trying to do it in all the legs but couldn’t; this was our last chance. We had a nice battle with PUMA in the last 100 miles. We are really happy.
“It has been really difficult. We prepared the boat for light conditions and the first 150 miles we had more wind than expected so we suffered a lot. Then it got lighter and we got faster. We have been fighting with PUMA and Blue and Ericsson for the last 250 miles. Really close. It has been like a match race. I don’t know how many tacks we have done! It is a great way to finish the Volvo Ocean Race. I am really proud of everyone in the group. They have done an excellent job.”
PUMA, who is now assured second place overall, led the Volvo fleet out of Sandhamn, on the outer edge of the Stockholm archipelago today – a spectacular day where conditions were perfect for the start of the tenth and final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 to St Petersburg in Russia.
Sailing confidently in 10 -12 knots of breeze, PUMA, Telefónica Blue and Ericsson 4 were the front runners off the start line and a huge spectator crowd needed no excuse to get out on the water and watch what these ocean greyhounds do best. A steady breeze and flat water ensured plenty of white water spilled from the bows as the boats started a leg for the last time, fully powered up and under a cloudless sky.
Leading round both buoys marking the traditional ‘sausage’ before heading to out to sea, the crew of PUMA had set the black boat up perfectly and extended their lead, while behind, Bouwe Bekking’s bowmen wrestled with their heavy code zero sail, which had remained furled and unused on the bow and was slowing the blue boat down. Green Dragon scorched past overall race winner Ericsson 4, who had the pressure put on by sister ship Ericsson 3, while Telefónica Black and Delta Lloyd were in the second string.
Team Russia joined the pack once the racing fleet had completed the inshore loop, to sail, but not to race, homewards to St Petersburg, with owner Oleg Zherebtsov working the bow as he did in the earlier legs of the race.
Although speeds were good as the fleet left Sweden behind, the leg is expected to be predominantly upwind to Russia and race rules allow for Race Director, Jack Lloyd, to shorten the 400-mile course if necessary. The fleet must arrive in St Petersburg on Saturday morning in order to clear customs and pass through two bridges, which will be raised specially in order to let the fleet into the historic city.
PUMA has now clinched second place overall, their performance improving hugely in the second half of the race. Telefónica Blue will take third after losing the battle for second when they finished last in leg nine after going aground in Marstrand, while Ericsson 4 is the runaway leader, winning the race with a leg to spare.
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 110.5 points
2. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 98.5 points
3. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 92.0 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 73.5 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 64.0 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP): 50.0
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 39.5 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points
TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG TEN DAY 1 QFB: received 25.6.09 2044 GMT
We just tacked with Ericsson 4 just few minutes after us. The last three hours have been a bit up and down, the wind was shifting quite a bit from something like 20 to 60 degrees TWD. The two Ericsson boats managed to climb up quite well on us thanks to some lifting puffs and we did the same thing to PUMA. We’re only 200 metres in front of Ericsson 4, nearly one mile in front of Ericsson 3 and same distance behind PUMA. We’re now all on port for another 30 minutes or so, after that we’ll all tack again towards the channel. Everyone is hiking hard pushing the boat. It’s going to be pretty long.
Gabri Olivo – MCM
GREEN DRAGON LEG TEN DAY 1 QFB: received 25.06.09 1616 GMT
Here we go again – sailing upwind and slowly losing miles. I will not miss this when the race ends. Fortunately, it cannot last for days, as St Petersburg is less than 300 miles away.
What a great city Stockholm is – it is definitely another place on my list that I will need to come and visit again. That city is built to host maritime events and the Archipelago is built for cruising. After the long but picturesque motor to the start off Sandhamn, we made a good start to the leg and enjoyed holding off Ericsson 4 and others for a leg or two. Now everybody is engaged in a drag race on port tack and we are nearly halfway to Estonia. Hopefully, something will change in the weather at some point to shake up proceedings. For now, it is a question of doing the best we can to stay in touch with the other boats. The conditions are perfect with flat water, medium winds and sunshine – who knows maybe we can get to St Petersburg without getting wet?
Ian Walker – skipper
ERICSSON 3 LEG TEN DAY 1 QFB: received 25.06.09 1800 GMT
I was a bit pessimistic in the first blog. I guess I was tired and Stockholm was too good to leave without a sad feeling. But once we got outside Sandhamn to the starting area, the mood got better.
Sun, flat water and 15 knots of breeze would make anyone happy. Unfortunately, we did not come of the start line in a good way. We were stuck with no speed and our poor positioning did not improve by an override with the sheet for the headsail. But we sorted it out quickly and once we had rounded the last mark, we were just a couple of metres after Ericsson 4, with PUMA and Telefónica Blue a bit further in front.
Now, at 1800, the positioning is pretty much the same. The Russians are behind us to leeward, Delta Lloyd and Green Dragon are straight to leeward. PUMA is still in front and Telefónica Blue and Ericsson 4 are following closely behind.
The most action-filled incident we had so far was when our Finnish guest had to jump overboard. Mason helped her get the drysuit on, then he led her down to leeward, lifted her up and held her with one arm above the surface until he thought the chaseboat was close enough. Then he let her go. Splash and gone! You really understand why you don’t want to fall overboard from one of these boat. To turn around and pick someone up would just take ages
Magnus has cheered up a bit and is now smiling more. He still tired and he knows this will be though. “It’s a bit of an anticlimax but we have to fight on and finish this race in a good way”, he says.
On the last legs we have had a big problem with tiredness. People just don’t get enough sleep. This time we are going to use the ‘standby watch’ system a bit more and everyone will get down to rest as soon as they can.
Gustav Morin – MCM
It was like the end of a school term at the skippers’ press conference in Stockholm today as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet prepares to tackle Leg 10, a final, short, sprint to the overall finish line in St. Petersburg.
With just 400 miles remaining in a nautical miles, and the leaderboard almost entirely decided, the finish line – the real one – is now in sight. that measures over 37,000
One leaderboard duel does remain. With a maximum of eight points available to the winner of the leg, PUMA leads Telefonica Blue by 6.5 points in the battle to finish second overall in the race.
The forecast is promising for the start on Thursday afternoon. A light Northeasterly breeze of 8-10 knots is expected. But as the leg progresses, the wind is forecast to ease. It could be a long 400 miles.
“This weather forecast is not perfect for us,” said PUMA skipper Ken Read. “We don’t want it to turn into a light air crap shoot because anything can happen that way. Telefonica can go and win the leg by 100 miles if they want; (but) we just have to beat one boat.”
“I think, realistically, they have sewn it up,” countered Telefonica Blue skipper Bouwe Bekking. “But it’s and hopefully they sail the wrong way, come last and we come first. There would be a lot written if that happened. We’ll certainly be pushing hard for a win.”
Also making an appearance at the press conference today was Team Russia skipper Stig Westergaard, who brought the Russian boat, Kosatka, into Stockholm last night. They haven’t competed since Leg 3 and the team is now engaged in a race against time to get rule compliant ahead of the start.
With Ericsson 4 having mathematically won the Fernando Echavarri, that will be motivation enough. on the leg into Stockholm, the rest of the teams are sailing for pride. And, according to Telefonica Black skipper
“This is the last chance we have to win a leg and we’ll try to do that,” he said. “It’s more about personal pressure and trying to finish with a leg win, rather than pressure on the overall standing. It’s going to be good (weather) conditions for our boats so we’ll try to do our best to arrive in St Petersburg in the top position.”
Ericsson 4 skipper agreed it will be a competitive race: “We all owe it to our sponsors to get a good result and we are all very competitive people. A win is important to us.”
A familiar face is on the horizon. Team Russia are on their way to Stockholm with the intention of taking part in the leg 10 sprint to their home port of St Petersburg, Russia.
In what amounts to a race against time for the team, who are currently at sea en route from Gothenburg and expect to be in Stockholm by Tuesday afternoon or evening. The leg 10 start is on Thursday
The team suspended racing in Singapore after leg three as a consequence of insufficient funds, and have since been trying to source funding to resume.
In the meantime, they have largely changed their management and crew – Stig Westergaard has taken over from Andreas Hanakamp as skipper and, along with founder Oleg Zherebtsov, is the only returning member of the sailing team – and they now face a difficult task in being declared eligible to race.
Race Director Jack Lloyd said ”We haven’t seen the boat since Christmas time when they left Singapore so we have no idea of the state of the electronics or the measurement condition of the boat. She just has to comply with the rules, like any other boat. All other boats have to maintain the boat in measurement trim and their crew have to qualify. They just have to go through that process.
“Their old crew has disbanded so probably about eight of them – if they want to take a full crew – have to take a safety course. We have got to do medicals and a little bit of other training, plus we have to get the boat back into measurement trim and get all the electronics done.”