Saturday, April 04, 2009

Telefonica Blue wins Rio de Janeiro In-Port Race

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] It was a great win in the ‘Light In-Port Race’ for Bouwe Bekking’s Telefónica Blue after a long postponement in Rio de Janeiro today. PUMA (Ken Read/USA) put in a solid performance to take second, but the surprise result was the outstanding performance by the rejuvenated Delta Lloyd with Spaniard, Roberto Bérmudez in charge, who took the third podium position.

Only one race was run due to the two hour postponement, but once the sea breeze filled in, there was a solid seven to 10 knot southerly breeze on the Guanabara Bay. Ian Walker and Green Dragon led the fleet off the pin end of the start line, with Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA), sailing with HRH the Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden onboard, and Delta Lloyd looking good at the windward end.

The fleet line up for the start of the Light In-port Race. Rio de Janeiro, 4 April 2009. Photo copyright Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race

Ken Read elected to start on port tack, and out in the clear air on the right hand side of the course, the choice paid off. At the first mark PUMA led the field, followed closely by Ericsson 3, the winner of leg five, with Magnus Olsson as skipper.

On the first down wind leg, Telefónica Blue and Delta Lloyd, who were mid fleet at the top mark, both benefitted from a big puff of wind on the left hand side of the course and shot into first and second place. Telefónica Blue was never challenged for the lead, but PUMA managed to slip past Delta Lloyd to steal second place.

The main action today was towards the middle of the fleet, an unusual position for the multiple Olympic medallist and local lad Torben Grael, when he found himself in a race between Green Dragon and Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP).

Both Ericsson 4 and Telefónica Black managed to beat back Green Dragon to post fourth and fifth at the finish, pushing Ian Walker and his men into sixth place. After their superb start, Green Dragon was never really in contention and Ian Walker will no doubt be disappointed with his result today. Ericsson 3’s day was effectively over when she had to take a penalty for a port/starboard infringement with Telefónica Black.

The in-port race as seen by Ericsson 3 & 4. Rio de Janeiro, 4 April 2009. Video copyright Ericsson Racing Team

Today’s results do not change the order on the overall leaderboard, but do close the margin between Ericsson 4 at the top and PUMA and Telefónica Blue in second and third place.

The start of leg six, 4,500 nm from Rio to Boston begins next Saturday, 11 April.

The Light In-Port Race Rio de Janeiro Results (Provisional)
1. Telefónica Blue 4.0 points
2. PUMA 3.5 points
3. Delta Lloyd 3.0 points
4. Ericsson 4: 2.5 points
5. Telefónica Black 2.0 points
6. Green Dragon 1.5 points
7. Ericsson 3: 1 points
8. Team Russia DNS

Overall Leaderboard
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 66 points
2. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 56.5 points
3. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 54.5 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 44.5 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 41 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP): 23 points
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 15 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points

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