As Team Puma was celebrated second, a Formula 1 driver was beyond consolation over the same result - Matthew Sheahan reports from Cape Town
On one side of the dock the TV screens showed a distraught Felipe Massa trying to hold back tears of frustration after finishing second in the world championships despite winning the last Formula 1 grand prix of the season,
On the other side, and in real life, Puma skipper Kenny Read was holding back tears of joy at having nailed second place in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.
“Someone said to me before the race started, would you take a second place and skip the first leg? I would have taken it in a heartbeat,” he said as the champagne shower rained down over the crew.
Just as in the closing F1 Grand Prix the racing had been unbelievably close, Read’s team had spent most of the first leg not just close, but in sight of Ericsson 4. So how did he feel when Torben Grael’s team turned on the after burners in the breezy conditions and disappeared over the horizon in the closing stages of the leg? Had Erisson tought the fleet a lesson and could Team Puma step up to this pace during the rest of the race?
“We don’t have a choice do we, we have to,” he answered. “We have some soul searching to do on how to do it, but they clearly showed us a path in that extreme stuff that we have to find. To be competitive we have to be there, we don’t have a choice.
Stationary for the frst time in three weeks, Read was clearly as delighted as he was relieved that the boat and the team had now proved itself.
“It’s a big relief,’ he said. “I’ve had so many sleepless nights over the past few months just imagining what 37,000 miles of sailing would be like in a slow boat. But we don’t have a slow boat. So now we’re in a boat race and we’re good at boat racing.”
Few would argue with this. After their three-point score for the in-port race in Alicante, plus the three points that the team notched up by rounding Fernando de Noronha in third place, added to the seven points the team bagged for second place in this leg, Team Puma lies in second place overall by one point. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) leads with 14 points.
For some, finishing second on Sunday 2 Nov was a reason to drown their sorrows, for others it was simply a reason to celebrate.