Abu Dhabi shrugged off seven months of frustration to seal their first offshore victory in a nerve-jarring transatlantic leg from Miami to Lisbon, while Groupama’s second place finish — five and a half minutes behind after more than 3,500 nautical miles racing — was enough to take them top of the leaderboard in place of long-term leaders Telefonica.
Groupama spent days snapping at the heels of the Emirati team and were within a mile of their rivals as they headed up the River Tagus towards the finish line.
Ian Walker’s team defended resolutely, however, matching their rivals gybe for gybe to ensure their first podium finish on an offshore leg would also be their first win, and spark wild celebrations lit up by a booming firework display.
For Groupama, the consolation prize came soon enough, as Telefónica’s finish in fourth place — behind PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG in the third podium slot and just ahead of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand — meant the French team climb above them.
Abu Dhabi, who finished at 21:23:54 UTC, received 30 points for victory, with Groupama netting 25 after their finish at 21:29:21. PUMA took 20 points, Telefonica 15 and CAMPER 10.
Team Sanya finished sixth to pick up five points.
Groupama, skippered by Franck Cammas, now lead Telefónica by three points overall, with the Spanish team dropping off the lead for the first time since their victory on Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town back in November.
Four teams remain separated by just 21 points, making it the closest contest in the 39-year history of the Volvo Ocean Race with just two offshore legs and three in-port races still to come.
The arrival in Lisbon represented a homecoming for Abu Dhabi, who had a training base in nearby Cascais during the build-up to the race.
“It’s incredible — what a welcome,” said Walker, before he and Emirati crew member Adil Khalid were chucked into the water by their team mates.
“Do you think you can make the last 10 miles of a race any harder than that?
“It’s one of the most amazing experiences of my sailing career, that’s for sure. Mentally, certainly I’m exhausted. It’s just such a relief.”
Abu Dhabi also visited Lisbon in much less happy circumstances during Leg 1, after a dismasting within the first few hours ultimately forced them to ship the boat from Lisbon to Cape Town.
While they have notched up three victories in in-port races, and have a strong chance of winning the series, this is the first time they have really been able to shine in an offshore leg.
First Groupama and then Telefónica enjoyed the lead for long spells on a leg that started out looking like a fast, direct sprint across the Atlantic before the effects of Tropical Storm Alberto altered things drastically.
One by one, the boats were forced to head ever further north towards the ice exclusion zone.
Abu Dhabi moved into the lead on Day 6 and after briefly surrendering it to CAMPER they were back ahead the following day.
Two days later they were clear, though skipper Ian Walker warned repeatedly that a light-air zone inside the final 300 nautical miles would see the fleet compress.
That’s exactly how it turned out, with Abu Dhabi forced to scrap every step of the way to an emotional victory at the team’s second home.
“It came down to the wire, and we certainly had our ups and downs, but we are very happy,” said Groupama skipper Franck Cammas. “it was a good operation for us!”
Third place for PUMA kept them in contention for the overall lead, 12 points behind new leaders Groupama.
“This is a great result,” said the team’s American skipper Ken Read. “There’s still a lot of points on the board and to be on the podium is a big deal for us.”
The battle between Telefónica and CAMPER for fourth and fifth came down to a slow-motion tussle over an excruciating final few miles, with no breeze and the current against them.
Telefónica eventually finished with an advantage of 102 seconds and less than a boat length for a five-point boost that could yet prove crucial.
The action resumes with the In-Port Race on June 9, followed by the start of Leg 8 to Lorient the following day.
Leg 7 results:
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 11d, 04h, 23m, 54s
2. Groupama sailing team – 11d, 04h, 29m, 21s
3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG – 11d, 06h, 26m, 52s
4. Team Telefónica – 11d, 08h, 28m, 27s
5. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand – 11d, 08h, 30m, 09s
6. Team Sanya – 11d, 08h, 44m, 25s
Overall Leg 7 Total
1 Groupama sailing team 25 183
2 Team Telefónica 15 180
3 PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG 20 171
4 CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ 10 162
5 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 30 104
6 Team Sanya 5 32
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing launched an 11th hour comeback in the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race to take their tally of in-shore successes to three, while Groupama scored a strong second to pile the pressure on overall race leaders Telefónica.
Ian Walker’s crew were rewarded for sailing a near-perfect race on Saturday when they snatched the lead from Groupama on the penultimate leg and went on to seal a dramatic victory.
Although they were pipped at the post, Groupama’s result moves them to within just seven points of Telefónica, who had yet more in-port disappointment when a penalty for touching one of the turning marks relegated them to last place.
In a thrilling finale, PUMA came from behind to rocket past CAMPER into third just metres from the finish line.
It was a fourth successive podium finish in the in-shore series for Ken Read’s PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crew, and it brought them to within a point of third-placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand on the overall scoreboard.
Team Sanya, the only team not racing in a new generation boat, were unlucky not to finish higher up the leaderboard, having to settle for fifth after a brave battle with their rivals.
“It feels great,” said a jubilant Abu Dhabi skipper Walker moments after crossing the finish line.
“We’ve had a tough time of it. We had no time at all to prepare for the last in-port race and we made a special point of having two full days’ training here. We wanted to show the world that Abu Dhabi hasn’t given up. We’re a good team, we’re determined, and it feels great to win a race.”
With the Volvo Ocean Race entering a critical stage with just three offshore legs and three in-port races left, just 14 points split the top four boats.
Telefónica still lead with 165 points but snapping at their heels are Groupama on 158, while CAMPER and PUMA are dangerously close on 152 and 151 respectively, bolstered by the results of the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race.
In a nail-biting contest peppered with position changes, Abu Dhabi capitalised on a strong start along with Sanya but it was Telefónica who led round the first mark, showing off their blistering speed on Leg 1.
The action couldn’t have been any more intense with Abu Dhabi and Groupama overhauling Telefónica on Leg 2. Meanwhile, after paying the price for heading offshore, CAMPER and PUMA were left desperately chasing the frontrunners.
While the front two stretched their lead, a fierce battle for third developed, climaxing on Leg 6 with Telefónica hitting the mark and the rest of the fleet piling in behind.
Telefónica were penalised by the on-the-water umpires, adding to their in-port misery and ending their hopes of consolidating their overall lead.
Sniffing a chance to pick up crucial points, PUMA, CAMPER and Sanya put pedal to metal and launched an extraordinary comeback that brought them back in touch with then leaders Groupama and second-placed Abu Dhabi with just a few legs left.
Abu Dhabi’s defining moment came when they hoisted a bigger sail than their French rivals, making the most of the smallest of speed advantages to pass Groupama despite having to dodge a spectator boat.
With the breeze fading, race officials chose to shorten the course and Abu Dhabi hung on to claim the win, all the more sweet due to the fact that just a few weeks ago their stricken boat Azzam was on a container ship en route to Brazil.
The sailors and shore crews are now turning their sights on the final preparations for 3,580 nautical mile Leg 7 from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal, starting on Sunday at 1700 UTC (1300 local time).
PORTMIAMI In-Port Race results:
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 74:09
2. Groupama sailing team, +00:33
3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, +02:02
4. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, +02:11
5. Team Sanya, +2:35
6. Team Telefónica, +6:28
Ken Read and The PUMA Ocean Racing Powered By BERG team win Leg 6,American skipper Ken Read led his PUMA team to a second consecutive leg win on Wednesday, arriving on home soil in Miami triumphant following an epic 17-day match race with closest rivals CAMPER to confirm they are back in contention for overall victory.
Since the heartbreak of the first leg, in which their yacht Mar Mostro dismasted, PUMA have been on the up – and after scoring their first offshore success in Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil, they made it two in two with glory in Leg 6.
After coming off best in an intense battle for first place with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, who at one point closed the gap to less than a mile, Read said his team were back in the fight for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 trophy.
“That was about as stressful as it can get, believe me,” Read said. “It was touch and go, and the guys on CAMPER sailed very well, but I couldn’t be more proud of our team — they did an unbelievably great job.”
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crossed the finish line at 18:14:00 UTC, 17 days after leaving from Itajaí, Brazil, with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand around an hour behind PUMA and on course to take second.
PUMA dominated the 4,800 nautical mile leg from the start, only surrendering the lead on two occasion to CAMPER and for no more than 48 hours.
A fast start to the leg in fresh conditions saw PUMA lead out of Itajaí and into several days of fast sailing up the Brazilian coast.
As winds eased the fleet split into three groups, with CAMPER and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing closest to the shore enjoying two days at the head of the pack, while Team Telefónica and Groupama sailing team opted to head east in search of better breeze. PUMA split the difference and it paid as they got a jump on their rivals that would lay the foundations for their eventual win.
With the south-east trade winds providing near-perfect conditions for the Volvo Open 70s, a drag race began up to the Equator and through the Doldrums, which presented little problem for the fleet. But 10 days into racing, PUMA were nearly undone by storm clouds which stalled the leaders, allowing CAMPER and Telefónica to reel them in to just six miles.
Into the Caribbean Sea they enjoyed fast sailing once more until they hit tricky weather systems that once again saw the leading boats compress. Despite coming under fire from CAMPER right up until the very last minute, faultless sailing saw PUMA defend their lead to claim the win.
It’s the fourth time in six legs that PUMA have finished on the podium, and they pick up an invaluable 30 points for the leg win to take their overall tally to 147.
CAMPER will be awarded 25 points for second place, their best result in the offshore series since Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi when they finished second behind Team Telefónica.
“It’s been a long leg and PUMA have sailed very nicely, they have defended very well, but I think we have attacked well too,” CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson said as his team closed in on the finish line. “I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone. We’re in better shape now for the next leg.”
Both teams will close the gap on overall leaders Telefónica, who were still scrapping it out for the final podium position with Groupama sailing team.
The current ETA for the arrival of Groupama and Telefónica is 0300 UTC, with fifth-placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing expected to arrive at 0800 UTC.
- The tender and selection process for venues interested in hosting an Extreme Sailing Series™ event in 2012-2015 has begun.
- The bid process closes 13th May 2011, with Host Venue decisions made by 1st July.
- The Extreme Sailing Series™ is delivering ever increasing tangible, year-on-year, benefits for Host Venues – boosted further by the new global year-long format.
With the first Act of the Extreme Sailing Series™ 2011 finishing last week in Oman, the organisers have opened the next round of Host Venue selection process for prospective cities and regions that wish to host an event in 2012 and beyond. The award-winning and innovative circuit provides Host Venues with an outstanding value-for-money destination marketing package, alongside direct economic benefits.
Entering its fifth year, the Extreme Sailing Series™ attracts some of the biggest names in the sport to compete onboard the visually exciting Extreme 40 catamarans – the headline act of an all-encompassing shore and on-water entertainments package that appeals to a diverse audience. In 2011, the circuit spans North America, Europe, Arabia and Asia, with nine premium venues hosting 11 competing teams with sailors from 17 nations. World record holders, America’s Cup champions and seasoned Olympians, representing their sponsor brands such as Prada, Omega and Red Bull, will battle it out in front of the crowds, VIPs and the international media.
© Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/OC Events
The event brings sailing to a whole new audience, with high adrenalin-fuelled stadium racing just metres from the shore with day-long entertainment in the public Race Village. VIPs are treated to the best seat in sport, with the chance to sail as a ‘5th man’ onboard the Extreme 40s during racing.
In 2011, four new host venues of Qingdao (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Boston (USA) and Nice (France) have signed up to the circuit, as the fleet returns to previous host venues of Muscat (Oman), Cowes (UK), Trapani (Sicily), Almeria (Spain) and Singapore. All host venues enjoy the direct and indirect benefits of having thousands of spectators visiting the event, as Don Luciano Alonso, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Sports for the Andalucia government explains: “The hotels were 90% full, 75,000 spectators watched the event… The results we have witnessed make it clear that we made the right decision when we bought the Extreme Sailing Series™ for Almeria.” An independent report commissioned by the region confirmed a 5 times ROI on their financial investment.
© Paul Wyeth/OC Events
Each Act gives the Host Venue a solid international platform to showcase the region and its marine facilities to the world, as well as promoting the sport of sailing within their local community. The Extreme Sailing Series™ is proud to leave a lasting legacy in each location, activating charitable, volunteer and try sailing programmes for all ages and experience levels.
Prior to the opening Act at The Wave, Muscat, Oman Sail, CEO, David Graham commented: “The value of hosting such events is enormous in terms of inspiring even more Omanis to discover sailing and writing the next chapter of Oman’s maritime history. We expect to bring many new visitors to Oman and many others to see the country through the global media coverage the event will generate.”
© Th.Martinez / Sea & Co
The venues visited by the Extreme Sailing Series™ are a vital element for its continued success and expansion, and the organisers recognise their importance by providing a powerful Destination Marketing package delivering excellent, proven ROI. In 2010, a significant number of venues from around the world approached OC ThirdPole directly to secure a spot on this year’s circuit, with those chosen now forming a mix of iconic cities, premium venues, great sailing destinations and emerging (sailing) markets.
As of today, proposals are welcomed from cities and regions that feel they can offer what it takes to host a great Extreme Sailing Series™ event for the next three years, beginning in 2012. Bids will be evaluated on the same criteria that were applied to select the 2011 venues. First and foremost, a suitable venue that can facilitate the ‘stadium’ racing concept, strong support from local governments and authorities, the ability to attract tens of thousands of spectators and a solid regional and national marketing and communications plan. To receive the Host Venue Tender document that outlines the full rights package and criteria, please email email@example.com
Two races from the end, and the entire top 7 boats could in theory still win the event! With 22 points available in the final seventh race of today, both Artemis Racing and Red Bull Extreme Sailing were able to take victory, but in the end Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing finished in 4th place, one place ahead of Pennec’s men who had therefore done enough, Terry commented: “It’s good to see that all our hard work since the end of 2010 has paid off but there is still much room for us to improve. We’re having a little bit of a crew rotation for Act 2 in Qingdao, so there will be lots of work to do”. Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series will be staged between the 15th to 17th April in Qingdao, China, preceded by two open-water racing days.
Roman Hagara, skipper of Red Bull Extreme Sailing, leapt on to the prizegiving stage with his crew of Hans Peter Steinacher, Will Howden and Craig Monk, jubilant at having secured third place. For the Olympic duo of Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, who competed together last year on the European tour, this is their best ever result: “We are very happy tonight, that is the result we were looking for,” said Steinacher. “The level is up again a lot this year and the all fleet is very tight together, it’s really tough! But we are in fighting mode!”
A total of 32 races were held over the five days – 11 races out on the open water courses on the first two days, and the remaining 21 within the confines of the ‘stadium’ right in front of the public. The second day delivered the most breeze – up to 21 knots – with the breeze softening to between 5-10 knots in the last two days. As Hutchinson observed: “It’s interesting to see that in strong winds Alinghi and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were doing very well, but since the wind is lighter some of the new teams are much stronger.”
The final day of Act 1, one of the headline acts of the Muscat Festival, coincided with the last day the Festival. It was a fitting end to Oman’s annual cultural celebration and Act 1 of the 2011 circuit ended on a high as the party atmosphere kicked off at The Wave, Muscat. In front of the public and VIPs a traditional Muscat band entertained the crowds with upbeat, pulsing music before the official prizegiving began in the presence of His Excellency Al Sunaidi, Minister of Sports Affairs. After the trophies had been given out to the deserving 11 Extreme 40 teams, including the top three teams in the Beach Football League, the Red Bull show swung into action as nine time World Champion trial biking, Kenny Delay, performed an incredible stunt as he leapt from Extreme 40 container to container. Thousands of public enjoyed the last day’s racing, cheering the Extreme 40 teams across every finish line.
Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand had a big comeback in the second half of the Act to finish in 4th place overall, beating Italy’s Luna Rossa by 2 points. Max Sirena’s Luna Rossa team that includes Britain’s Paul Campbell-James, defending 2010 Extreme Sailing Series skipper, struggled with consistency but seven first places over the five days including a win in the double-points final race ensured they kept the chasing Alinghi team at bay. For the home teams of The Wave, Muscat and Oman Air the script didn’t quite go to plan. The Wave, Muscat skipper Torvar Mirsky, new to the game and the youngest skipper on the tour, was impressive in the opening half of the Act – adapting well from one hull to two. But some pushy tactics had them in trouble with the umpires and they dropped from third place on day 3 to seventh place. Oman Air’s Sidney Gavignet, also new to his role as Extreme 40 skipper, reveled in the experience ably supported by his experienced crew and although 8th place may not be where he wished to finish, it was a good first competitive Extreme 40 learning experience. Roland Gaebler’s Team Extreme and the all-Italian team Niceforyou, alongside Britain’s Ian Williams on Team GAC Pindar were on the sharp end of the learning curve having arrived at Act 1 with limited training and boat preparation time. But expect to see these top class sailors get into the groove as the season progresses. These sailors represent the hottest in the sport and as the Act 1 winning skipper put it: “They are improving fast and the competition will get even tighter soon.”
Bring on Qingdao!
Extreme Sailing Series, Act 1 at The Wave, Muscat
Overall Results after 32 races:
Pstn / Team / Skipper/crew / points
1st Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Hervé Cunningham / 253 points
2nd Artemis Racing (SWE), Terry Hutchinson / Sean Clarkson / Morgan Trubovich / Andy Fethers / 243 points
3rd Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Will Howden / Craig Monk / 239 points
4th Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Richard Meacham / 236 points
5th Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena / 234 points
6th Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Carioiu / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey / 217 points
7th The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Torvar Mirsky / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri / 208 points
8th Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari / 188 points
9th Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler / Bruno Dubois / Sebbe Godefroid / Michael Walther / 143 points
10th Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier / Alberto Sonino / Daniele de Luca Simone de Mari / 95 points
11th Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Brad Webb / Gilberto Nobili / Jono Macbeth / 62 points
Owned and sailed by Rives Potts (Westbrook, CT) with a crew blending four families, Carina is the 46th winner of the race’s top trophy in the 104-year history of the race, which runs 635 miles from Newport, RI to St. David’s Light, Bermuda.
The 48-foot McCurdy & Rhodes designed sloop won on corrected time under the Offshore Racing Rule by the very large margin of 3 hours, 35 minutes over Gregory B. Manning’s Sarah (Warwick, RI). Belle Aurore, a Cal 40 owned by R. Douglas Jurrius (Easton, MD) was third, seven minutes behind Sarah.
Carina’s chances for winning looked good but hardly certain when she finished the race at dawn Tuesday. Her chief challenge came from Belle Aurore and three other boats in Class 1, the small-boat class. Any of them could save their time and elbow Carina off the victory podium should she finish by about 7 PM. Many sailors at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and elsewhere spent much of Tuesday following the quartet’s progress on the online iBoattrack tracker. In the end, nobody was able to save their time on Carina.
Those four smaller boats still did well. Belle Aurore won Class 1 and took third place in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division. Two other Cal 40s, Peter Rebovich’s two-time defending champion Sinn Fein (Metuchen, NJ) and Bill Leroy’s Gone with the Wind (Tiburon, CA), took second in the class and seventh in the division, and third in class and eighth in the division, respectively. The fourth boat, David G. Dickerson’s Peterson 38 Lindy, was fourth in class and 20th in the division.
Carina also won the North Rock Beacon Trophy as the top boat under the IRC Rule, with a margin of nearly four hours over Gracie, a custom 69-footer owned by Stephen and Simon Frank (Darien and Rowayton, CT). Gracie was also designed by McCurdy & Rhodes. Third under IRC was Arbella, a First 44.7 owned by James Shaughnessy (Greenwich, CT).
As of Noon ADT Wednesday, 9 boats in the 183-boat fleet were still on the race course. This is the third largest Newport Bermuda Race since it was founded in 1906. The St. David’s Lighthouse Division, for amateur crews, is the largest of the race’s five divisions, with 103 boats this year.
Invictus At Start (Photo by George Bekris)
FOR NEWPORT BERMUDA RACE START PHOTOS CLICK HERE
2010 Newport Bermuda Race
|Place, Yacht, Owner, Origin, Results (ORR(Cls, Div) / IRC(Cls, Div))
|Class 1 (11 Boats) – St. David’s Lighthouse Division