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Race leaders raring to go

Telefonica's skipper says all is well with boat and crew ahead of Volvo Ocean Race

Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News
Ian Walker (left) of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Chris Nicholson ofCamper, Groupamas’ Franck Cammas, Ken Read of Puma OceanRacing and Team Telefonica’s Iker Martinez at a press conference.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: While most rivals are busy checking out their boats and making repairs, Volvo Ocean Race leaders Team Telefonica have the least to worry about and are ready for the start of Leg 3 on January 14.

At a press conference here yesterday following their dramatic arrival on Wednesday, Iker Martínez, skipper of Team Telefonica, said: "We are very good, very happy.

"The boat is good, the sails are good, and everyone is fine on board. Obviously you have to check and re-check just in case, but we are happy and should be very good for the return of the race."

Martinez's boat leads with 66 points, eight more than second placed Camper whose skipper, Chris Nicholson, said: "We had slight sail damage during the leg — as far as we know no hull damage.

"That's almost surprising considering some pretty harsh conditions in Leg 2, harder than in Leg 1. As far as I know it [the hull] is totally unscathed, but as normal we have a job list as long as your arm."

Franck Cammas, whose Groupama sailing team beat overall Leg 2 winners Team Telefonica to win the stage two sprint into Abu Dhabi, said his team had just compiled their job list and the biggest problem for them was a cracked hull.

"As you know, we had one big crack in the hull and we have to repair that. I think it will be okay in four days. Otherwise, we have some changes in the mast rigging and some new sails coming, but we are happy with the boat for now," Groupama skipper Cammas said.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker, whose boat lies in fifth place with 19 points, said: "We are overwhelmed by the welcome we received."

Commenting on the task at hand while they were on shore, Walker said: "We probably have 50 small things to fix. We were last out of the water but it doesn't seem like there are structural problems from Leg 2. It all worked out well, no sail damage, no injuries on board and no illness, so we'll be in pretty good shape for the restart."

PUMA Ocean Racing's skipper, Ken Read, said: "We're checking over the hull now. It seems to be good. We did have a small mast problem in leg one which we're trying to take care of. I think we're in pretty reasonable shape."

Sixth-placed Team Sanya are currently in Madagascar making repairs to their rig,