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Volvo Ocean Race:Iker Martinez: Congratulation Groupama, they are worthy winners of the regatta

03July2012_Volvo_Ocean_Race_GroupamaPhoto by PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race

03-July-2012. Xabi Fernández: “It's a feeling a bit like being ahead for most of the match and then losing in stoppage time”

Almost two in the morning in Galway and and the dash to the Irish port which took 1 day, 13 hours, 57 minutes and 33 seconds for “Telefónica” means that the offshore sailing for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 has drawn to a close. In a tight bunch, as predicted, the fleet have finally reached Galway (Ireland) in a steep margin of just 17 minutes between the top four entries to cross the finishing line. “Telefónica” with Iker Martínez finished fourth in the leg and in the overall ranking for the regatta which won't see any changes now.

“We had opportunities throughout the leg to do well”, said Alicante's Pepe Ribes, boat captain on “Telefónica”. “'Puma' got past us this morning just before Fastnet Rock. After that when we climbed the Irish coast at one point 'Camper' got past us but we still had the chance to come back on the final downwind stretch but that's where the Kiwis and the French took the initiative to gybe first. This is a league and we've played lots of matches and here the league has been reflected in the boats finishing in first, second and third. They're the winners, and that's all there is”, he added.

With the port at the Irish port brimming with spectators Australian skipper Chris Nicholson and his crew on “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” took their first and only leg victory as they finished at Galway, followed by “Groupama” and “Puma”.

The overall rankings decided

With this end of the leg the overall final rankings, regardless of the result in the in-port race on Saturday in Galway has been decided. French team “Groupama” is the overall winner of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012, and finishing off the podium are the New Zealanders on “Camper” and American entry “Puma”. For the first time, the boat which took the least time to complete the round the world regatta, “Telefónica” finished in fourth place, in a competition based on points and not on time taken to complete the course.

“It's a feeling like being ahead for most of the match and then losing it in stoppage time”, according to Basque Xabi Fernández. “'Groupama' did really well and took it step by step. They made a weaker start but then improved steadily and were worthy winners and we've been saying that they were going to be the toughest competition for a long time”.

The Spanish team's skipper Iker Martínez also had a few words for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 winners: “I want to congratulate 'Groupama', they deserve it and we the worthy winners of the regatta”.

Offshore triple

A total of nine legs and almost 40,000 miles of sailing and “Telefónica” won the most legs with three offshore victories in this round the world regatta. The first was Alicante to Cape Town (South Africa), the second from  Cape Town to Abu Dhabi and the third from Abu Dhabi to Sanya (China). A total of 16,530 nautical miles. On reaching China Iker Martínez and his crew made history in this edition of the regatta; not since 1989-1990, 22 years ago, when the regatta was known as the Whitbread Round the World Race had a boat managed three consecutive leg wins.

“Groupama” and “Puma” both took two leg wind in this edition of the regatta. The French crossed the finishing line in first place on the fourth and eighth leg which finished at the ports of Auckland (New Zealand) and Lorient (France), respectively. That means that they were winners of 7,160 miles.

“Puma” took the fifth leg, which finished in Brazil and the sixth leg which finished in the American port of Miami. Both legs add up to 11,505 miles.

Tied on one leg a piece are “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” and “Abu Dhabi”. The Kiwis finished first in Galway on a 550 mile leg whilst Ian Walker's crew gained a long-awaited victory at Lisbon after 3,590 miles of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean.

Four days in Galway

After reaching the Irish city the fleet will now have four days until the final in-port race is raced on Saturday the 7th of July and after that the final prize giving ceremony the competition, which kicked off back on the 29th of October in Alicante will draw to a close.

Before that there is still time for an official training race, on Thursday 5th July and the Pro-Am race on Friday 6th July; neither of which are scored.

MORE QUOTES

Iker Martínez, skipper

We knew that the final positions in this leg would decide the final positions overall: fourth in the leg, fourth overall in the round the world race. Of course, this isn't the position we wanted to finish in, but it's what we deserve. We knew that this leg would be important, we fought to win it but we didn't sail as well as we needed to. We even started in the lead and lead a lot of the time. It was a fast leg where sail changes were key but we weren't brilliant and with just a few miles to go the top four entries were bunched to within a miles and a half of each other.

From this circumnavigation of the globe I'll be taking with me the fact that we went round the world and that we all got here safe and sound and that's worth celebrating. All of us who set off together finished here together.

Xabi Fernández, trimmer

I'll take a lot of things with me from this round the world race. A great job over a long period of time, a great team and boat is what we achieved. I think we did an absolutely impeccable job up to Brazil and then after that things seemed to twist in a way that makes it hard to believe that we managed not to let it all slip away.

Pepe Ribes, boat captain

Finishing at Galway is always really special because it's three in the morning but the square was full of people. There were boats waiting for us even 60 miles from the finish. The number of fans in amazing.

I'll take with me the legs we won and the moments we lead this round the world race. And the fact that we've completed another round the world race.