Yachting: Telefonica Blue Back In The Fray

Tony CastaneiraAnalyst IFebruary 14, 2009

Telefonica Blue team has returned to the fray and started leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race. Beginning the leg in fifth place, the team crossed the starting line nearly 19 hours behind the leaders.

Telefonica Blue had run aground and damaged the keel forcing Skipper Bouwe Bekking to make the difficult decision to suspend racing in order to have the boat hauled out of the water to assess the extent of the damage before starting the fifth leg.

The crew on shore worked at a furious rate overnight to repair damage to the keel. Tests showed that fortunately the damage was not critical and by Sunday morning in Qingdao, the boat was ready to be lifted into the water.

"It could have been way worse," said a relieved Bouwe Bekking. "The good news is there's no structural damage and I'm just happy that we checked it out. You don't want to go out on a leg like this where your keel or your bulb could fall off. It's good news."

The Telefonica Blue crew will have their work cut out for them to make up for lost time with the leading boats in the fleet starting nearly 19 hours ahead

"We are going to lose a bit more over the first couple of days, as they're always in better pressure, but hopefully they park up and we reel them back in."

Telefonica Blue resumed racing at 23:42 GMT on Saturday night (07:42 local time in Qingdao).

Leg Five Day 2: 0100 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions

(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to leader)
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) 12356 DTF
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +0nm
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +5nm
Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +29nm
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +169nm
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) DNS
Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bérmudez/ESP) DNS
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS