Telefónica Blue ruled the day on Saturday afternoon earning two wins from two starts on in-port race day at the Volvo Ocean Race stopover at Fan Pier, in Boston.
With Iker MARTINEZ
(ESP) on the helm and Bouwe BEKKING
(NED) calling tactics, Telefónica Blue dominated the afternoon, leading from pole to pole in both races.
Racing was postponed for forty minutes in very light conditions before a weak sea breeze developed for the first race. Green Dragon and Ericsson 4 raced off the start line at the pin end and looked good initially, but by the top mark, Telefónica Blue and Delta Lloyd had used the right side of the course to their advantage to lead the fleet.
Approaching the top mark, Green Dragon was still holding a good third place position but trouble on their final tack to the mark left the boat floundering on the layline, with Ericsson 4 and PUMA roaring past. Upon rounding the mark, Green Dragon compounded their problems when they infringed on Ericsson 3, leaving both boats nearly still in the water. The Dragons acknowledged their mistake with a penalty turn, and trailed the fleet the rest of the way.
At the front, Telefónica Blue was never threatened, while Delta Lloyd earned a tremendous second place result with overall Volvo Ocean Race leader Ericsson 4 close behind.
The hometown heroes on PUMA were fighting with Telefónica Black for most of the race with fourth place as the goal, and in the end, Ken Read's men were able to hold off the Black boat. Ericsson 3 never recovered from their incident with Green Dragon and limped home in sixth.
In the short delay between races, cloud and thin fog enveloped the race course, killing the sea breeze, but bringing a stronger gradient wind. Racing started in 10-12 knots.
There was plenty of action on the start line for race two with Telefónica Blue appearing to be danger of starting early just moments before the start gun fired. But MARTINEZ was able to luff up, slow down, and earn some precious room between himself and the pin mark. In the event, Blue had a clean start at the pin with plenty of speed.
Others weren't as lucky. PUMA and both Ericsson boats were unable to scrub off enough speed and were called out for being over the line early. They all had to return and re-start while the others raced away at speed.
For Telefónica Blue, this early advantage was enough. MARTINEZ and BEKKING never looked back and stormed away to their second race win on the afternoon.
It wasn't so simple behind. Telefónica Black, in clear air after three boats returned to restart, also sailed a strong first leg. As did Delta Lloyd. And Ericsson 4 recovered well from the start line error to round the first mark in fourth place. But PUMA and Ericsson 3 remained at the back of the pack for the first lap of the course.
Everything changed on the second beat to windward. A big right-hand shift saw Delta Lloyd stranded on the wrong side of the race course and tumble from third to sixth place. Ericsson 3 moved up to fourth place, while PUMA clawed their way past Green Dragon and Delta Lloyd.
On the final run, both Ericsson boats gybed inside Telefónica Black to make a pass and set up some complicated math for the race committee in determining the overall standings on the day.
In the final accounting, Telefónica Blue was the runaway winner, with Ericsson 4 clear second and Delta Lloyd holding on for third place. A three-way tie for fourth was decided in favour of the stronger position in the second race; terrible news for the hometown favourites on PUMA. It meant Ericsson 3 would grab fourth, Telefónica Black fifth while PUMA was left in sixth place. Green Dragon, with two seventh place finishes, brought up the rear.
On the overall leaderboard, Telefónica Blue creeps half a point closer to Ericsson 4, but more importantly opens up some margin over PUMA in the battle for second place.
The next in-port race day is in Galway on 30 May. But to get there, the fleet will race from Boston beginning next Saturday 16 May.
Race One Boston In-Port Race Finish Position
1. Telefonica Blue
2. Delta Lloyd
3. Ericsson 4
5. Telefonica Black
6. Ericsson 3
7. Green Dragon
Race Two Boston In-Port Race Finish Position
1. Telefonica Blue
2. Ericsson 4
3. Ericsson 3
4. Telefonica Black
6. Delta Lloyd
7. Green Dragon
Boston In-Port Race Results
1. Telefonica Blue: 4 points
2. Ericsson 4: 3.5 points
3. Delta Lloyd: 3 points
4. Ericsson 3: 2.5 points
5. Telefonica Black 2.0 points
6. PUMA: 1.5 points
7. Green Dragon 1.0 points
Volvo Ocean Race Leaderboard
(After Boston In-Port Race)
1. Ericsson 4, skipper Torben GRAEL
(BRA), 81 points
2. Telefónica Blue, skipper Bouwe BEKKING
(NED), 68.5 points
3. PUMA, skipper Ken READ
(USA), 65.5 points
4. Ericsson 3, skipper Magnus OLSSON (SWE), 55.5 points
5. Green Dragon, skipper Ian WALKER
(GBR), 45.0 points
6. Telefónica Black, skipper Fernando ECHAVARRI
(ESP), 31.0 points
7. Delta Lloyd, skipper Roberto BERMUDEZ
(ESP), 24.0 points
8. Team Russia, skipper Andreas HANAKAMP
(AUT), 10.5 points
Go here for all the news on the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09
Volvo Ocean Race - www.volvooceanrace.org