Saturday, June 9, 2012

French Extend Dominance With Victory In Lisbon Inport Race - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Groupama sailing team extended their overall lead to eight points with a crucial victory in the Oeiras In-Port Race on Saturday, a result that gives the French team a huge boost as they prepare for the Leg 8 race to their home port of Lorient starting Sunday.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
With four teams still vying for victory in what is the closest contest in the 39-year history of the Volvo Ocean Race, Groupama remained cool under pressure to secure the maximum six points and take their overall tally to 189.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
With closest challengers Team Telefónica enduring another in-port race day to forget -- they were forced to do a penalty turn, saw a sail dumped in the water and finished last -- Groupama's lead jumped from three points to eight.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
It was a fourth successive bottom-placed finish in an in-port race for Telefónica, who paid a hefty price for an aggressive rule infringement just after the start of the 11.6 nautical mile course.

PUMA finished second, taking their overall score to 176 points and breaking the three-way tie at the top of the in-port race series standings.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand were third across the line, scoring four points, followed by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, with three points, Team Sanya with two and Telefónica in last, claiming just one point.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
“This is a good moment for us,” Cammas said. "It’s above what we expected at the start in Alicante so we’re going to enjoy it. We will try to do the best possible and will just see what happens in the next leg, but for sure we are going to enjoy this moment."

With so much at stake the atmosphere was tense from well before the start-gun and as soon as it fired Telefónica and PUMA were engaged in an aggressive downwind match-racing style battle.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
The Spanish team came off second best after the umpires ruled they had infringed on the Americans and ordered a penalty turn within one minute of the start.

As Iker Martínez’s crew fell to last place, a far too familiar in-port position for the former race leaders, the fleet took off in about 16 knots of southwest wind in flat seas powered by massive spinnakers.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
The lead changed three times during the first of the four legs before Groupama rounded the top mark in first place just seven seconds ahead of CAMPER, 18 seconds ahead of Abu Dhabi, followed by PUMA, Sanya and Telefónica.

Groupama continued to lead while PUMA edged into second place ahead of CAMPER, followed by Abu Dhabi, Sanya and Telefónica as the fleet rounded the second mark, where the course was shortened.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
Telefónica’s woes continued in the third leg when their masthead halyard broke, unexpectedly dumping their spinnaker into the water, while Sanya intentionally dumped theirs overboard after their halyard failed to unlock from the mast.

The positions, however, remained unchanged with Groupama cruising to their second in-port victory, finishing 22 seconds ahead of PUMA.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
PUMA skipper Ken Read joked that race organisers should start charging admission for such hotly contested conditions.

“Groupama aren’t showing too many chinks in their armour right now,” Read said. "They’re sailing very, very well and had a great start. We’ve got to get a little bit better but we’re getting there.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
"But Groupama are not going to be feeling very secure up there, they know there’s a lot of racing left. There’s still a couple of guys crawling around where we are too, so we need to just keep doing well, keep doing the right thing, and hopefully good things will happen."

The sailors and shore crews are now turning their attention to the final preparations to the 1,940 nautical mile Leg 8 race from Lisbon to Lorient, France starting on Sunday.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
At 1300 local, 1200 UTC, the fleet will head out into the North Atlantic where they will have to negotiate the temperamental Azores High before rounding São Miguel island and heading back towards the coast of Brittany. The fleet is expected to finish on or around June 17.

With the finish of the nine-months ocean race just one month away and just 23 points separating the top four teams the race is set to go down to the wire.
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
The teams have just two short legs and two inshore races remaining to pick up vital points, setting the stage for an intense and thrilling battle.

Each of the offshore legs offers 30 points to the winner, 25 for second, 20 for third, 15 for fourth, 10 for fifth and five for sixth. The hour-long in-port races score at 20 percent of that rate – six points for first, five for second and so on down to a single point for sixth.
OverallOeiras In-Port RaceTotal
1Groupama sailing team6189
2Team Telefónica1181
3PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG5176
4CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ4166
5Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing3107
6Team Sanya234
In-Port SeriesOeiras In-Port RaceTotal
1PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG535
2CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ434
3Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing333
4Groupama sailing team632
5Team Telefónica120
6Team Sanya214
Volvo Ocean Race Media

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