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6 December 2005, 04:42 pm
Sunergy And Friends Celebrate
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

The trials and tribulations for the Australian Sunergy and Friends team have been massive, but despite their setbacks and struggles, they arrived in Cape Town, South Africa today after just over 24 days of sailing, putting them in fifth place overall in the Volvo Ocean Race. Their score now stands at 4.5 points with Pirates of the Caribbean (USA) on 3.5 points and movistar (ESP) on 3.
On arrival skipper, Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) commented, 'After we broke the gooseneck, the shore team did a great job to rebuild and have it turned around in half a day. Unfortunately this put us at the back of the weather system and about 600 to 700 nautical miles behind the others. After that we had a tough time, as we were always behind the weather the front of the fleet had, especially in the doldrums. But we are very happy to arrive here in fifth place and finally put some points on the scoreboard!'

Forever buoyant navigator Campbell FIELD (NZL) also spoke about his leg one experience, 'We had a hell of a lot of fun out there and it was great to get a chance to put our foot down and show exactly what the boat was capable of.

'We were disappointed to see the leaders charging along at those speeds from early on and especially as we dropped off at the back. But we certainly deserved the 501 nautical miles as we spent longer in the doldrums than anyone else and probably went through it twice.'

It has been a long slog for Sunergy and Friends to even arrive in Cape Town. They only just made it to the start line in Vigo, Spain some three weeks ago, missing the In-Port race in Sanxenxo. The Australian entry has fought hard and worked through many nights to get their Volvo Open 70 and crew to Spain and on the start line.

This team left Vigo having had very little time on the water as a crew on this yacht. For some of them it was probably a baptism of fire, having not competed in the Volvo Ocean Race before and facing a furious storm in the first few days. Unfortunately for this hard working team, their goose neck (the point where the boom attaches to the mast) broke while they were battling out the depression and although they valiantly tried to make a repair, it did not hold and 24 hours later they were forced to make the quickest pit stop in sailing history in Porto Santos on the island of Madeira.

It took the crew under twelve hours to put the boat back together, including mending the head (toilet), but sadly the time taken to head to Madeira and then restart again had allowed the rest of the fleet to make real inroads into the path south to the gate at Fernando de Noronha.

With this setback coupled with the fact that the crew was still learning how to set the yacht up in different conditions, they began the leg at a slightly slower pace to the rest of the yachts but this soon changed. It is a testament to the determination and skill of WHARINGTON's crew that they carried on learning and developing the yacht all the way through this leg.

Their luck began to change with the introduction of Brunel and ING Real Estate as sponsors for the boat for leg two from Cape Town to Melbourne. Next came the day when they eventually proved their skeptics wrong achieving a 501.41 nautical mile 24 hour run, averaging 20.89 knots, the third fastest time from this leg behind the two Kouyoumdjian designed yachts, ABN AMRO ONE and ABN AMRO TWO.

So, after 24 days of racing the crew has moulded together and proved they are as competitive as the rest of the fleet, and although they have been trailing the leaders, navigator FIELD and the rest of the crew has kept everyone amused with their accounts of life onboard a Volvo Open 70 which gave a very personal insight into life at the extreme.

Leg One Finish Report, 6 December 2005

Pos Team Nation Skipper TLPTS Arrival Time Leg Time RPTD Overall
1 ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 10.5 01/12/2005 - 1324 UTC 019d 00h 24m 02s 11.5 1
2 ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastian JOSSE (FRA) 8 01/12/2005 - 1956 UTC 019d 06h 56m 34s 9.5 4
3 Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 7.5 02/12/2005 - 0458 UTC 019d 15h 58m 48s 10.5 2
4 Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 7 03/12/2005 - 0547 UTC 020d 16h 47m 38s 10.5 2
5 Sunergy and Friends AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) 4.5 06/12/2005 - 1251 UTC 024d 01h 33m 55s 4.5 5
6 movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 1 - - 3.5 6
7 Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 1 - - 3 7

TLPTS: total leg points to date inc. scoring gate points if yacht maintains current position
RPTD: Race points to date inc. in-port race points, scoring gate points and leg points
Overall: position in race overall

For a complete list of all the news about the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 CLICK HERE.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Sunergy skipper Grant WHARINGTON celebrates:© Robin Britton
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