Spanish victory on a tough leg

Telefonica Blue took the victor’s laurels on the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/2009. Into second place sailed Puma while Ericsson 4 took bronze in what many competitors regarded as the toughest leg in the history of the race.

Once clear of the finish, an exhausted Bouwe Bekking, skipper onboard Telefonica Blue, talked about the leg that has taken its toll on most of the boats in the fleet. “It was the hardest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race ever. It is just great to be here in one piece and we are in one piece.  I am so happy with the team, they showed great seamanship”.

The eight points for the leg win, brings Telefonica Blue’s total score to 41.5 points, just 3.5 points behind race leader Ericsson 4. 

The fourth leg of Volvo Ocean Race 2008/2009 has been full of drama, bravery and courage. “Both people and equipment have been subjected to immense stress. This has been the most demanding leg in the Volvo Ocean Race that I have ever encountered,” reported Phil Harmer two days ago from Green Dragon. His team had been forced to significantly slow its pace after the boat suffered major structural damage.

On the previous day, both Delta Lloyd and Ericsson 3 were forced to set sail for Keelung in Taiwan where it was established that the damage to the boats was so severe they had to retire from the leg. Something that Telefonica Black was also forced to do a day or so earlier.

Both the teams and the sailors knew in advance that the leg from Singapore to Qingdao would be really difficult. Particularly strong winds combined with powerful currents meant that the crossing from the southern to the northern hemisphere often took the boats through heavy and choppy seas where waves of up to ten metres were far from unusual.

On January 31, Green Dragon crossed the finish to complete leg four and earn five points, bringing their overall tally to 27.5 points.

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