Abu Dhabi nabbed its first Volvo Ocean Race leg victory after sailing 3500 miles from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal, in 12 days. Groupama finished second just six minutes later, followed by PUMA, Telefónica, CAMPER, and Team Sanya.
“It was such a tough race,” said Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker. “Everyone knows we’re not as quick as some of the other boats so we just had to make up for it in other ways. It’s one of the most amazing experiences of my sailing career, that’s for sure.”
With the points garnered from their second place finish, Groupama has surpassed Telefónica as the overall leader of the competition. At this stage in the race, four teams have a shot of winning and only 21 points separate first and fourth place, the closest any Volvo race has ever been.
Teams only have two offshore and three inshore races left to gain a few more points. And as the stakes rise, the length of the legs are getting shorter and shorter. The next offshore leg will begin in Lisbon, Portugal, and end in Lorient, France, expected to last one week. The last leg is only expected to last three days.
The Lisbon In-Port race will begin June 9.
Photo by Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race