Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi's search for more speed

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker finishes fifth on leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Abu Dhabi, UAE, to Sanya, China. - v

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have a need for speed, skipper Ian Walker said after finishing Leg 3 in fifth place under the cover of darkness at Sanya, China on Saturday.

'We can do tactics better, crew work better and everything better because at the moment it’s just not good enough' Jules Salter - navigator, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Walker’s team, who won the first stage of Leg 3 from their homeport in Abu Dhabi to Sharjah, finished stage 2 more than eight hours behind leg winners Team Telefónica.

After embracing his parents Marcia and John on the dock, Walker told volvooceanrace.com that he wasn’t disappointed about his team’s results.

'If we sail badly and mess it up then we’re upset, but we didn’t sail badly, we just didn’t have the legs to stay with the leaders,’’ he said. 'There’s nothing really to be too upset about.'

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker from the UK finishes fifth on leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Abu Dhabi, UAE, to Sanya, China. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race) - v
Navigator Jules Salter said the team had plenty of work to do to improve everything from crew work to tactics, but the major area for improvement was the performance of their yacht, Azzam.

'We need to find the potential, to get the speed out if it, and that’s something we need to keep working on,’’ he said.

'You can always do everything better -- we can do tactics better, crew work better and everything better because at the moment it’s just not good enough.

'It is how it is, there’s no point dressing it up with a lot of rubbish.'

Despite some struggles in the offshore legs, the team have had plenty of moments to celebrate, watch captain Craig Satterthwaite said, including victories in the in-port races at Alicante and Abu Dhabi.

It is these victories that are keeping the team motivated and focused on honing their boat's strengths and weaknesses.

'To me it doesn’t matter weather you’re at the front or back you still sail the same and do the same manoeuvres and same jobs and keep the same intensity. Whether it’s the good times or bad times you have to keep going,’’ he said.

'This is not a one-day race it takes a long time so you can’t give up, you have to keep going.'

Abu Dhabi set a new monohull record in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race, but has struggled on the long ocean legs, since losing her mast on the first night of the Volvo Ocean race after the event started in Alicante, Spain. She was shipped to Cape Town for leg 1; finished fifth on Leg 2 into Abu Dhabi, but won the In Port races in both Abu Dhabi and Alicante, before the start and also won the restart of a short Leg 3 stopping at Sharjah, UAE before the fleet was shipped to the Maldives for the full Leg start.

For a full explanation of the results of Legs 1 and 2 http://tinyurl.com/7c744ph!click_here