Lisbon, Portugal, was a fantastic stopover. Lots and lots of fans. An amazing and historic city that gave the Read family a lot to do outside of sailing. All in all it was about as much rest as I have had since this adventure began. I feel pretty good starting this leg, which is a pretty rare feeling at this time in this young boy’s life.
And, I guess it showed these past couple days. A come-from-behind, second-place finish in the In-Port Race was a big one for us. We nipped CAMPER and Abu Dhabi at the finish.
Telefonica managed to do their typical “first or last” routine in the In-Port Races — this time finishing last, which resulted in some needed points for the rest of us. The only drawback is Groupama won the race and are sailing well. We lost one point to them in the standings. We need to start reeling them in if we are to have a chance. And then we absolutely nailed a somewhat risky start and led the fleet out the river back into the Atlantic Ocean. Doesn’t mean much in the big picture other than it was a few moments of glory for our fans, I would imagine.
And it is all about the points now. Two legs to go. Two In-Ports to go. A maximum of 70 points up for grabs. We are close, but will still need Telefonica (now in second) and Groupama (leaders) to make a few mistakes. That is the price you pay for comebacks. The people ahead need to help.
We are heading to another place where sailing is king: Lorient, France. Actually, the home and training base for Groupama. Will they have an advantage? Maybe. But if Miami was any example, their skipper Franck Cammas might have a lot on in Lorient. I was pretty overwhelmed in Miami with all of the extracurricular activities that were required of me as the hometown boy. Of course, you could always say no, but that isn’t what this is all about. When you can speak for the race, your sport and your sponsors, you simply do it. We can all sleep next year.
Ken Read is skipper of the PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG team, competing in the Volvo Ocean Race. The 39,000 nautical mile round-the-world yacht race is the world’s longest continuous professional sporting event. Visiting five continents over nine months, the world’s best offshore sailors risk their lives every day competing in the “Everest of sailing.” The race began in Alicante, Spain on Nov. 5, 2011; Lorient, Brittany, is the next stop, and the race will finish in Galway, Ireland, in early July. Follow the race at www.volvooceanrace.com