Monday, December 01, 2008

Telefonica Black finishes 4th in Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Fernando Echávarri from Spain brought Telefónica Black into Cochin, India, in fourth place on leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race, earning five points, which when added to their scoring gate total of 1.5 points, brings their total to 13.5 and sixth place on the overall leaderboard. The team was second in the in-port race in Alicante, but last on the first leg of the race from Alicante to Cape Town after suffering damage.

The team took 16 days, 00 hours, 40 minutes and 26 seconds to complete the leg, crossing the line at 1200 GMT (1730 local time). Although this is the first time that Echávarri, fresh from a Beijing gold-medal win in the Tornado class, has skippered a boat in the Volvo Ocean Race, he was part of the crew of the ill-fated movistar in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race. Movistar was skippered by Bouwe Bekking, who took second place on this leg yesterday, racing the second of this Spanish two-boat campaign, Telefónica Blue.

Echávarri, and his team were delighted to move up the order after spending much of this leg in the back third of the fleet of the fleet.

“We are really happy to be here after all our issues,” said Echávarri on arrival. “It is nice to be with our family and the Volvo family. We got really close to the other boats in the last few days, and we had to play it sharp and hug the coast to get pass them,” he explained.

Swedish navigator, Roger Nilsson, on his seventh lap of the planet, said: “Yesterday, we had the idea that if the other teams went to the beach, we would stay offshore. We then realised that offshore would not be good, so we didn’t care where the others were, we just got as close as one or two miles off the beach. I was surprised the other boats allowed us to do that and I was not surprised we gained. The sea breeze was very useful with its angle, and we came out the good way.”

The leg was not without its dramas for Telefónica Black. On day seven, 21 November, a problem with a halyard meant that Mike Pammenter from South Africa had to go to the top of the mast in 25 knots of wind. The boat heeled badly and he lost his grip on the mast, swinging round it twice before regaining his hold and completing the job. He returned to the deck, had his breakfast and went to bed, as if nothing had happened.

Echávarri and Nilsson chose the western route through the Doldrums, which for several days, looked as if it would not pay off, and on day 12, they were 112 nautical miles in arrears.

The team moved up to seventh place on day 13, 27 November, and stayed there, making their remarkable comeback over the last 48 hours, and going into StealthPlay in the closing stages of the leg.

Leg Two Finishing Order into Cochin, India
1. Ericsson 4/SWE (Torben Grael/BRA)
2. Telefónica Blue/ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED)
3. Ericsson 3/SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE)
4. Telefónica Black/ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP)

Overall Leaderboard (Provisional)
1. Ericsson 4: 26 points (FINISHED)
2. Telefónica Blue: 19 points (FINISHED)
3. Ericsson 3: 14.5 points (FINISHED)
4. PUMA: 14 points (RACING)
5. Green Dragon: 14 points (RACING)
6. Telefónica Black: 13.5 points (FINISHED)
7. Team Russia: 6.5 points (RACING)
8. Delta Lloyd: 4.5 points (RACING)

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