Sunday, December 11, 2011

Volvo Fleet Wave Goodbye To Cape Town As Leg 2 Gets Underway - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Cape Town, South Africa

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has come out with all guns blazing after speeding around the Cape Town inshore course and leading the fleet on the Leg 2 charge towards their home base in Abu Dhabi just days after being fitted with a replacement mast.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
After a slow motion start in light air shadowed by Table Mountain, Abu Dhabi picked up the pace and led to the top mark. Hot on her tail was Groupama sailing team, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, Team Sanya and Team Telefónica, who stalled on the start line.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
But as the westerly wind backed off to just five knots and the fleet made their way around the 11-mile inshore course Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team widened their lead at the Cape Town leaving mark.

Hundreds of spectators, fans, friends and families gathered at the Cape Town Race Village to send off  the 66 sailors in an emotional farewell.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
Telefónica supporters donned team colours and loudly blared their vuvuzelas in support of the race leaders. Team Telefónica has extended her lead by winning Saturday’s V&A Waterfront In-Port Race, and by scoring six points to take their overall score to 37.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
Skipper Iker Martínez said his team had a solid strategy and would try their best to fend off the challengers. Right on her tail is CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, intent on winning Leg 2 and snatching the lead. Also close behind are third-place Groupama, with an excited and determined Franck Cammas keen to “get back to ocean racing.”
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
A defiant Ken Read has also set out his hopes of PUMA becoming the first team to win the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race without completing all the legs, having retired from Leg 1 with a broken mast.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
Team Sanya’s skipper Mike Sanderson said he was just happy to have his boat back in one piece and to be joining Leg 2 after a miraculous repair effort. Sanderson said following heart breaking results of Leg 1, when his team were back onshore within 24-hours that it was good to get going.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
As the team songs faded out across the race village and the departure ceremony drew to a close, the focus soon turned to the race course, lined with hundreds of spectator craft scattered across Table Bay.

By the start time, 1300 UTC, the morning rain had passed and a blue skies and sunshine provided the perfect backdrop. The westerly breeze created dream conditions for the fleet to charge up the course in a close-quarter inshore combat.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
The fleet are expecting another brutal leg start for the first night at sea with the wind tipped to tend south as they make the 35-mile trek to the Cape of Good Hope.

Volvo meteorologist Gonzalo Infante said crews could expect the first night to be a good test for the three yachts forced to retire from Leg 1 with damage: Abu Dhabi, PUMA and Sanya.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
“Twenty-five to 30 knots coupled with a three to four metre sea is going to be a good test for the new rigs and bow,’’ Infante said.

Leg 2 sees the fleet head out from Cape Town and they will eventually arrive at Abu Dhabi around New Year's Day. Due to the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean the yachts will be shipped from an undisclosed Safe Haven Port through the worst affected area before completing the leg with a sprint into Abu Dhabi.

Provisional Leaderboard Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
1. Team Telefónica: 37 points
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand: 34 points
3. Groupama sailing team: 24 points
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing: 9 points
5. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG: 9 points
6. Team Sanya: 4 points

Lulu Roseman

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