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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spanish Victory in Auckland - Volvo Ocean Race Update

MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) emerged victorious despite a pair of major setbacks in Leg 4 following one of the tightest-fought finishes in Volvo Ocean Race history on Saturday night.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
The victory gives the 2014-15 edition its fourth winner in four legs following successes for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), and Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA).
Photo: Xaume Olleros / Volvo Ocean Race 
All those wins in the first three stages have been hard-fought but none more so than this latest leg win for the Spanish boat, claimed at 2131 local time/0931 UTC after 5,264 nautical miles (nm) and 20 days, two hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds of sailing from Sanya, China to Auckland.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
Stand-in skipper Xabi Fernández could not have chosen a better stage to guide his crew to victory with just four minutes 25 seconds to spare from Walker’s men, who had the consolation of becoming overall leaders thanks to a better in-port race series record than Dongfeng Race Team.
Photo: Xaume Olleros / Volvo Ocean Race 
“We’re super happy to be here, and of course, it was a very tough leg. We had a very hard last day especially, but we’re very happy to be here.We have improved a lot over the last two legs. We have a very good team and I hope we can now show to the world what we can do and keep doing it like this,” Fernández said.
Photo: Xaume Olleros / Volvo Ocean Race 
For so much of a leg which started in Sanya on February 8, MAPFRE had looked the most unlikely of winners. They lost full communications for three days when a problem emerged with their antennae, which prevented them from receiving full weather data to help them plot the optimum course.
Photo: Xaume Olleros / Volvo Ocean Race 
This, with the help of the Race HQ technology staff plus partners Cobham, was eventually fixed, but they also suffered a major injury problem on board when under-30 crew member Guillermo ‘Wily’ Altadill (ESP) badly hurt his hand. It was put in a splint and Altadill, 22, will see a doctor on Sunday to discover if he has broken it.
Photo: Xaume Olleros / Volvo Ocean Race 
“I’m going to the doctors in the morning – after the party,” Altadill said.
Photo: Ian Roman / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Walker, meanwhile, will be satisfied with his second runners-up spot in a row, and a fourth podium place. His crew skirmished with MAPFRE all day on Saturday, but could not quite overhaul the Spanish crew despite reducing the deficit to within 1 one nautical mile at times.
Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
Equally, they narrowly staved off third-placed Dongfeng Race Team by less than four minutes. Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) claimed fourth, just under 1hr 20mins behind Dongfeng, with Team Brunel and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) bringing up the rear in ever lighter winds.

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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