Volvo Ocean Race - Puma Ocean Racing third overall

Casey Smith takes a wave to the face on his way to the bow. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Volvo Ocean Race team Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg crossed the second stage of the leg two finish line, from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, in fourth position on Wednesday 4th January at 12:28.38 UTC/16:28.38 local time, collecting three points for 19 points and third place overall in the leg.

'It was a great day to go sailing, I just wish we were a little quicker,' said skipper Ken Read. 'We are here to race. Every time we go out on the water, we’re looking to win. Today was a bit of a disappointment, I have to admit. Fortunately, the boat, mast, crew – everyone is in great shape. We just have to get faster.'

Puma’s Mar Mostro and crew were off from the starting line at 09:30 local/05:30 UTC this morning, heading down the Sharjah coastline. The boats saw an average of 20-knot winds over the 98 nautical mile stage two of the leg.

In a battle to the finish, Puma crossed the line in Abu Dhabi less than two minutes behind third-place Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand. Puma traveled the course in 6 hours, 58 minutes and 38 seconds. Groupama won stage two at 12:22:09 UTC, followed by Team Telefónica (12:23:01 UTC). Telefónica was the overall winner of leg two with 29 points between the two stages.

On December 26, Puma’s Mar Mostro earned 16 points for a third-place finish in the first stop on leg two. The team remains fourth in the overall race standings with 28 points.

'A disappointing result for Puma’s Mar Mostro, but our very first leg finish of this race nonetheless,' said media crew member Amory Ross. 'We are confident in our boat handling – especially in heavier air – but we were definitely a tick off the pace today. It was a long day, a pretty grueling day (it's hard to jump onto a VO70 in this weather after a week of not sailing), but we went fast and fast is always fun.'

Leg two was redrawn into two stages as the teams sailed from Cape Town to an undisclosed location to protect the fleet from pirate activity in the Indian Ocean. The teams arrived in a safe haven port and the boats were transported by heavy lift ship to a position off the Sharjah coastline in the northern Emirates. The second part of the leg was today’s sprint to the finish line in Abu Dhabi. The 5,430 nautical mile first part of the two-stage leg from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi counted for 80 percent of the available points, while the remaining 20 percent of the leg points were awarded after the sprint.

The Volvo Ocean Race started on November 5 in Alicante, and the six-team fleet is traveling 39,000 nautical miles through 10 ports, finishing in Galway, Ireland, in July 2012. The teams will have a week before racing resumes with the Pro Am Race on Thursday, January 12.

The standings:
Pos Team Leg Two / Overall
1. Team Telefónica 5 / 66
2. Camper with Emirates Team NZ 4 / 58
3. Groupama Sailing Team 6 / 42
4. Puma Ocean Racing by Berg 3 / 28
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 2 / 19
6. Team Sanya * - 4

* Suspended racing in leg two

Quoting Ken Read:
On arriving in Abu Dhabi: 'We always expected Abu Dhabi would be special, and so far it’s proving to be. It was hard to get here, but obviously the wait was worth it. This will be a lot of fun.'

On shipping the boats: 'We’re getting very used to loading boats on ships. I had never loaded a boat on a ship before in my life, and now we’ve put one on twice, off twice and we have one more to go.'

On preparing for the next leg: 'Now we can concentrate on not just getting ready to sail a leg. In Cape Town, we literally had to put the mast in the boat and go sail a leg. Now, over the next week in a half, we can concentrate on trying to make our boat faster. Today was proof that we have a little ways to go.'

Puma Ocean Racing website