The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG team was back racing today, finishing third in the V&A Waterfront In-Port Race in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. PUMA was in the lead through the fourth mark before dropping to third following sail damage. Team Telefónica finished first in today's race while CAMPER was second. PUMA now sits fourth in the overall standings with nine points.
"We blew our spinnaker up at the first leeward mark," said skipper Ken Read. "It was a bit unlucky, but it was good to be racing again. These things happen. We're really happy to get on the podium, and we're ready start the leg tomorrow."
A quick downwind start saw winds blowing 20-25 knots on the first run with PUMA and Telefónica sailing in familiar territory - neck-in-neck. A solid jibe before mark No. 1 put PUMA in the lead. The crew remained in the first position around the fourth mark, before it was downwind sailing again, and at that point PUMA was without the spinnaker and fell to third.
"We had a great first lap and a solid lead, but we knew that second run we were in trouble because we weren't going to have that big red kite." Read said. "The boat was going fast, which has definitely boosted our confidence. The shore crew has done an incredible job to get us ready to race again."
Leg 2 of the race begins Sunday and will take the six teams from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Start time is 13:00 UTC/15:00 local in Cape Town. The PUMA Ocean Racing team will be offshore racing again for the first time since PUMA's Mar Mostro suffered a broken mast on November 21 during the first leg of the race, sailing from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town.
"Obviously we're looking forward to the start of the next leg," said helmsman Jono Swain. "The weather is not going to be as bad as we originally thought it was going to be a couple of days ago. The first night can be pretty miserable coming out of Cape Town as you're usually bashing into the southeaster. We're confident after today, and we saw our speed was good. We're a sail boat again, and just to be out there sailing again is the main thing."