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March 11, 2012

Volvo Ocean Race: Groupama Claims a Dramatic Leg 4 Victory

Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: Pro-Am Race day during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Alicante stopover. Groupama Sailing Team. (Credit: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race).

Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: The V&A Waterfront In-Port Race in Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Marc Bow/Volvo Ocean Race).

Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France finishes third on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race).

Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: Pro-Am Race day during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Alicante stopover. Team Telefonica. (Credit: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race).

Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: Team Sanya arrive in the start city of Alicante, where they will continue training for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race).

Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: The V&A Waterfront In-Port Race in Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Marc Bow/Volvo Ocean Race).

Groupama sailing team survived a late scare to secure a dramatic victory on Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 on Saturday, crossing the finish line shortly before midnight in Auckland, New Zealand, to end Team Telefonica’s winning streak.

The French team, appearing in the race for the first time, had to isolate a leak and furiously pump out around a ton of water after suffering damage to the bow within hours of the finish line, following repeated upwind pounding in eight-meter waves.

“I’m feeling very excited. It’s a great day for Groupama 4 and it’s great to arrive here first into Auckland,” said Groupama skipper Franck Cammas. “I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a good time here with all the sailing fans. It’s a good place to win for sure.” Cammas, a first time Volvo Ocean Race competitor, said the race was won and lost on a bold decision made by navigator Jean-Luc Nelias. “The key thing for this leg was to be quick and to make good decisions,” he said. “We knew we had to do both of those things and we did. This is where we ended up.”

Meanwhile, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG won an epic battle for second place on Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Sunday, clinching the runner’s up spot on a rainy morning in Auckland.

Team Telefonica followed them in just under 50 minutes later for third after holding off CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in a fight that continued gybe-for-gybe all the way to the finish line.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing came in just under 34 minutes later for fifth, with Team Sanya the sixth boat in just over 35 minutes after that.

Thousands of fans jammed into spectator craft to welcome the boats in and thousands more packed Auckland Viaduct Harbor.

“My God, I feel good to be in Auckland,” said PUMA’s American skipper Ken Read after the team had received a traditional Maori welcome into the harbor. “From day one of this leg, ever since we sailed into the South China Sea, it’s been tough. I know that’s what we signed up for but man this was a challenging leg. This result is something we can build on.”

During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race, which started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concludes in Galway, Ireland, during early July 2012, the teams will sail over 39,000 nautical miles of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient.

The Volvo Ocean Race is an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavor which has been built on the spirit of great seafarers - fearless men who sailed the world’s oceans aboard square rigged clipper ships more than a century ago.

|GlobalGiants.Com|


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Posted by Editors at March 11, 2012 2:09 AM | Link to this Post

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