Volvo Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi eyes Volvo catch-up

2012-01-12 16:42
Ian Walker (File)

Abu Dhabi - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Ian Walker is desperately searching for some speed from his under-performing boat in front of his home fans on Friday in the Volvo Ocean Race.

The twice-Olympic silver medallist finished fifth coming into his home port in the second leg and now lies 47 points off the pace set by Spanish boat Telefonica.

The Briton was hand-picked by Abu Dhabi to spearhead their maiden challenge in sailing’s premier off-shore event but a broken mast suffered hours into leg 1 in November and then the second leg’s under-performance leaves him with work to do to impress his pay-masters.

"For us, our goal at the start was get into the top three. We're fifth so we have some work to do," he told a news conference on Thursday ahead of an in-port race the following day and the start of the third leg to Sanya, China on Saturday.

"If you'd said we'd lose our mast inside the first six hours of Leg 1 I wouldn't have believed it and Leg 2 was a tough leg.

"We have every reason to believe we can catch up and the leaderboard may not reflect the whole story. There are a lot of points left and one incident can curtail a whole race.

"We have to keep chipping away but you have to sail very, very well to beat anyone."

Iker Martinez’s Telefonica remains the form boat in the 39 000-nautical mile race - finishing in July - after winning the last two legs and the in-port race in Cape Town.

The Spanish boat leads the standings on 66 points ahead of Camper (Spain/New Zealand) on 58 and Groupama of France 42.


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