Volvo Ocean Race: Telefonica resumes Leg 2 tomorrow

Tuesday, 03 January 2012

This morning in Sharjah the Spanish boat was the first to be loaded off the transporter ship transferring the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to the Emirate in order to take on the final stage of the leg

Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 09:30 at the Sharjah coast in the United Arab Emirates and 05:30 UTC, the final sprint to the end of the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race is set to kick off. The leg was divided into two stages due to the high risk posed by pirate activity on the fleet's route to Abu Dhabi from Cape Town in South Africa. “Telefónica” Navigator Andrew Cape says that they should finish the leg in roughly six and a half hours, which means that the second leg of the round the world regatta may finally be wrapped up by 15:00 UTC tomorrow.

“It'll be a battle of speed, but there is a bit of a close-hauling at the beginning, right at the start, which will be very important. It will be important to get into a good position at the start”, pointed out Xabi Alonso, Trimmer on the Spanish boat “Telefónica”.

Offloading on the Sharjah coastline

First thing this morning in the Arab Emirate of Sharjah the unloading process began for the racing yachts, which had been transferred by cargo ship from “Point A” in the Indian Ocean, a location not yet revealed for safety reasons. “Telefónica” was the first off with the entire operation taking place inside the port area, where “it is pretty straightforward, with flat waters. The operation was carried out with no hitches”, said Spanish Skipper Iker Martínez.

The ESP-1 crew set off from Abu Dhabi towards 08:30 local time (04:30 UTC) in minibus to cover the approximately 200km between the UAE capital and the city of Sharjah. As soon as they reached the port, where the boat was already safely on the water, thanks to the great work of the team's shore crew, they leapt onto “Telefónica” to check that all was 'ship-shape'. “We are checking that everything is ok and we are getting the boat ready for racing again. All of the sails were stowed for the transfer and the mast was loosened because it had to be tipped forward so that it wouldn't hit the crane... It was a series of small but essential things to sort out for a trip like this”, said Martínez.

“In my mind, this is like a coastal race”

The latest forecasts are all indicating that the boats are going to get some 25 to 30 knots of breeze, which is unusual for this area of the Persian Gulf, and there may be some swell with it. The course is roughly some 100 miles long, and on the first 20 of those the crew will be close-hauling, with the breeze coming at them. After that, another 70 miles of breeze on the beam and a final 12 miles where the breeze is likely to drop.

“It is true that this is still Leg 2, but for us the second leg is over, It was over four thousand miles and when they were done, so was the leg for us. In my mind this is much more of a coastal race. It's a race which'll only last a day and that's how I think you have to deal with it. We set off from here tomorrow morning and in the afternoon we'll be in Abu Dhabi. It will be very intense and just like a coastal race. That's how we are dealing with it”, said Iker Martínez, speaking in Sharjah.

“Telefónica” leadership guaranteed whatever the outcome

Despite the fact that this course is just 100 miles and the previous stage of the leg took 15 days, there are 20 per cent of the total leg points in play for this second stage of the leg.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is when the overall winner of the leg between Cape Town and Abu Dhabi will be decided. However, whatever happens, the “Telefónica” overall provisional led in the regatta standings is mathematically assured.

“Once we are there we'll still be points leaders, because the points available are enough that even if we have a bad race, the second-placed entry can't get to us, so we'll have to enjoy being overall leaders in Abu Dhabi while we can”, said the double Olympic medallist Iker Martínez.

The “Telefónica” crew's spirit of competition goes far beyond that and they'll be fighting tooth and nail for every point they can get, as Iker Martínez's comments suggest: “With the points in play it's always better to push further ahead than to let the competition catch up with you”. The Basque skipper also referred to the importance of a good start: “You have to watch out as with every start and every time these boats are in close quarters you can get some sticky situations, so you have to push hard but be very careful at the same time”.

Media Team Telefónica

See Team Telefonica images

SeeVolvo Ocean Race 2011-12 images

See Volvo Ocean Race 2008-9 images 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 January 2012 )