Volvo Ocean Race – PUMA aiming to retain second place overall

Chaotic start to leg nine in Marstrand

PUMA made an excellent start to leg nine of the Volvo Ocean Race in Marstrand, Sweden today, a 525 nautical mile sprint round the Swedish coast to Stockholm. After a light wind start in choppy seas the seven boat fleet raced round a six mile course positioned just off the northwest coast of the island of Marstrand. Several hundred spectator boats lined the race course on either side causing a chaotic sea state, almost walling the racing boats into a narrow channel.

PUMA rounded the final mark in second place, watched by crowds of thousands on the rocky shore just above it, before heading off south down the coast in this all-Swedish leg of the 37,000 mile round the world race. Currently lying in second place overall, just one point ahead of Telefonica Blue, PUMA are determined to retain second place overall with a strong finish in this leg. While Telefonica Blue ran aground on rocks an hour after the start and suffers potentially serious damage to their keel, PUMA presses on down the Swedish coast with the remainder of the fleet.

Leg nine from Marstrand to Stockholm will take the Volvo Ocean Race fleet down the west coast and round the southernmost tip of Sweden, before working their way northwards along the east coast towards the Stockholm archipelago. Never out of sight of land for the entire passage, leg nine is a true test of the PUMA Ocean Racing team's coastal racing skills, with variable diurnal winds and tidal streams to be contended with.

Navigating their way round islands, wind farms and bridges en route, the ten sailors once more expect to get very little sleep in the next 48 hours. Winds of up to 25 knots are predicted for the first half of the leg, with light and fluky conditions expected for the second half, meaning a tricky approach to Sandhamn on the island of Sandön where the finish line is located just outside the Stockholm archipelago. The fleet is expected to cross the finish line on Tuesday June 16.

Skipper Ken Read (USA) commented on the dock this morning: “This leg is like a day race. First of all because the sun never goes down here, and secondly, it's just close-quarters hand to hand combat. There's no chance to take a break. It should be a quick trip; quick and dirty. You have to approach it with a very different mentality to the offshore legs. All of the crew on are on deck all day and all night. We get very little sleep.

There will be a lot of sail changes, a lot of anticipation. In a leg like this, you could see some splits round islands, round bridges, there's a lot of stuff in the way out there. You could see some small splits in the fleet which could make some big differences. We have been nice and consistent in this race to date, and hopefully this leg will be no different. We've enjoyed our short stay here in Marstrand, and are looking forward to seeing Stockholm.”

The Volvo Ocean Race is made up of ten legs, finishing in St. Petersburg, Russia on 28th June 2009. By joining the race, PUMA has entered a new premium category and is the only Sportlifestyle company to participate in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. For more information about the race, team and the PUMA Sailing collections, please visit http://www.pumaoceanracing.com

 

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