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28 November 2011, 08:20 am
Telefonica Take Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1

Volvo Ocean Race
Alicante, Spain

Team Telefónica screamed into Cape Town in 40 knot winds as they clinched victory in Leg 1 on Saturday, celebrating their success to the sound of vuvuzelas blaring.
Iker Martínez and his team, who finished last in the Iberdrola in-port race in Alicante last month, atoned with a faultless performance over the three weeks of the leg.

They finished at 2014 local time on Saturday, just as the sun was setting, in roaring conditions in Table Bay, sailing with a reefed mainsail in a confused sea with more than 40 knots of gusting wind.

It was 21 days five hours 14 minutes and 25 seconds after they left Alicante on November 5 when they crossed the line and several more minutes before they could manoeuvre into the harbour as cross-winds threatened to smash the state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70.

The crowd responded with ecstatic applause and a shower of champagne as they came in, and the sailors were greeted with hugs and kisses from loved ones.

They then went inside for their first chewable meal in three weeks - burgers and fries, ravenously stuffed into their mouths.

Three of the boats are being shipped to Cape Town after being forced to retire from Leg 1, but all are hopeful of making the start line for the second in-port race on December 10.

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG
face the biggest struggle after dismasting on Monday, just when they were running neck and neck with Telefónica.

"Winning the leg is obviously sweet, but we had some great sailing too," said Telefónica's British watch leader Neal McDonald.

"Racing Puma was like we were tied together with a bit of 200ft elastic for days and days and days -- some of the best offshore racing I've done. So, we were very sad to hear they lost their rig."

For skipper Martínez, an Olympic gold and silver medallist for Spain, victory was a dream come true.

"The feeling is fantastic,"
he said. "It's something that you only dream of. We've seen what can happen and we have achieved much more than we thought we could."

Telefónica top the leaderboard with 31 points followed by CAMPER on 29. Groupama will have a total of 22 once they finish.

The three boats who had to retire form the leg - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, PUMA and Team Sanya - score no points for this leg, leaving them on 6 points, 5 and 3 respectively.

One of the first people to shake hands with Martínez at dosckside was Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker.

They will be back scrapping it out on Saturday, December 10.
Volvo Ocean Race
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