Ken Read’s Puma takes the final in-port race but Franck Cammas’ Groupama wins overall. Matthew Sheahan reports
Kenny Read’s first first came last in the final race of the Volvo as Puma won the in-port race in Galway. The team’s win placed them at the head of in-port series by just a single point with Chris Nicholson’s Camper in second.
“The start was the whole race,” said Read as he described how his team had managed to lead all the way around the 8 mile race in light and shifty conditions. “Winning anything is fun, be it an in port race or a game of chequers but the bottom line is that we have just finished the Volvo Race.”
Taking second place in today’s race and mirroring their position in the overall standings, was Chris Nicholson’s Camper who had spent the afternoon trading places with Groupama who were assured of the overall trophy no matter what happened in this day race. So how did Nicholson feel about taking second in a race that they had been among the favourites for?
“We had a great battle with Groupama today, it was a great race,” he said shortly after the finish. “But overall, this race is the easiest race in the world to lose. To be runners up given the problems we’ve had along the way, I’m very happy and proud of this team.
“Our biggest low was breaking the boat on Leg 5 when we were leading the leg and leading the race overall. That’s where we saw winning the race slip away from us,” he continued. “But the biggest high was winning this last leg into Galway. We had good tactics and good speed and the result propelled us into second overall.”
So as the nine month around the world 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race drew to close after 39,000 miles visiting ten ports, it is Franck Cammas’ Groupama that takes the overall trophy. How did he feel and what was the secret of his team’s success?
“It’s a big dream, a great feeling for everybody,” he said. “We didn’t expect this result at the beginning, but it has been a good surprise.
“The secret was that we were outsiders at the beginning of the race and wanted to learn. We have learned and while we made mistakes at the beginning, we continued to learn as we went around.”
But while the smiles of his team said it all, perhaps the irony is that Groupama’s original intention was to compete in two Volvo events. That plan was cut back part way through the race after the company said it would not be sponsoring a second campaign. Perhaps now they don’t need to.
Galway In-Port Race
1. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG 53 minutes 12 seconds
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand + 1:19
3. Team Telefónica: + 1:56
4. Groupama: + 2:29
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing: +4:00;
6. Team Sanya: +4:32
In-Port Race Series:
1. PUMA 45 points;
2. CAMPER 44;
3. Groupama 41;
4. Abu Dhabi 37;
5. Telefonica 27;
6. Sanya 16
Overall final standings:
1. Groupama 253 points;
2. CAMPER 231;
3. PUMA 226;
4. Telefonica 213;
5. Abu Dhabi 131;
6. Sanya 51