TelefonicBlack pushes past Pum shortly before the finish
TelefonicBlack has won the tenth and final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Spanish team around skipper Fernando Echavarri, 2005 ISAF world sailor of the year, two-time tornado world champion and Olympic champion in 2008, was two and a half boat lengths ahead of Puma in St. Petersburg.
The Americans had led a large part of the 400-mile stage, but shortly before the finish they had to let the Spaniards go in a reversal duel.
Pum's on-board camera captured the crucial moment. The Spaniards had to pass behind the “Schuh-Boot”, US skipper Ken Read ordered a turn for cover, the timing was poor, and before the ship could pick up speed again, the “Blacks” slipped leeward.
It was a satisfaction for Echavarri and a late comeback. Because his ship was one of the big disappointments of this regatta. Actually structurally identical to the heavily sailed sister ship "Blue", the "Black" had great difficulties with hard corridors. She often sailed a knot slower than the competition.
However, this disadvantage did not affect the Baltic Sea shallow water conditions. For the intense four-way battle over the last 250 miles to St. Petersburg with Puma, TelefonicBlue and Ericsson 3, the easing wind was particularly helpful for the Spaniards.
But more than sixth place overall is not possible for the Spaniards despite the final victory. After the near-sinking on the China stage, the resulting failures on the two sections afterwards were unavoidable.
Overall winner Ericsson 4 had noticeably held back on the last stage. But that doesn't detract from their dominance. The team around skipper Torben Grael was a superior winner. Pumped the maximum out of his one-boat campaign with second place. And TelefonicBlue as third overall should not be completely disappointed.
“It's a strange feeling,” says Grael. “Some of these guys have never been met before, and now they have become like brothers. Now we're all going our own way again. On the other hand, it was a long race. We are completely exhausted and everyone is looking forward to some rest. We had a wonderful time."