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22673
IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race
They’ve had plenty of ups and downs over the course of the race, but PUMA skipper Ken Read said he couldn’t be any more proud of his 10 team mates as they secured third place overall in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.

"The best part about it is we’re all really good friends and that’s really hard to do after going round the world" - Ken Read on his PUMA crew

The American crew’s campaign was dealt a cruel blow midway through the first leg from Alicante, Spain, to Cape Town, South Africa, when their mast broke but they refused to let it affect them, bouncing back to not only re-join racing but notch up 15 podium finishes in 18 scoring opportunities along the way.

And although they’ve been cooped up in a 70ft carbon shell for the majority of the race, Read said he wouldn’t swap any one of his crew, who have become best mates through the epic 39,000-mile race.

“I wouldn’t trade my 10 guys for anyone in the world,” Read said. “The best part about it is we’re all really good friends and that’s really hard to do after going round the world.

“There’s plenty of times when things can get a little testy and this crew didn’t allow that to happen.

“They’re 10 great people that I’ll do anything with and I owe everything to at this stage. They’re good friends and that’s what’s most important.”

PUMA narrowly missed out on second overall with their Leg 9 lead snatched by CAMPER within four hours of the finish after they sailed into a wind hole off the coast of Ireland.

Read said it was typical of the luck they’ve had at crucial moments of the Volvo Ocean Race – but concluded that settling for third in such a talent-strewn field of sailors wasn’t all that bad.

“We’re kinda the hard luck kids – we get a nice little lead, park and wait for everyone to catch up,” he said.

“It’s happened so many times in this event. Never in my life have I ever witnessed anything like that.

“That said, we give all the credit in the world to CAMPER and to Groupama. You are what you are at the end of the day, and we’re going to end up third overall.

“I guess that’s pretty good seeing as we were sitting in the middle of the ocean without a mast not too long ago. We have something to be proud of for that.”

Ever the gentleman, Read also had nothing but kind words for French rivals Groupama sailing team, whose second-place secured them overall victory.

“They’re fast, they’re smart, and that’s a deadly combination,” he added. “I give them so much credit because they started this event pretty far behind the eight-ball especially in light air.

“They made up ground in several of their weak areas like I’ve never seen another sailboat team do before.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of these guys, I really like them as people, as competitors, and I give them all the congratulations in the world – they deserve it.”

Comments

  • We have both enjoyed watching the Volvo Ocean race in its entirity. Every moment was exciting. What wonderful tenacity you all have. PUMA we have watched your actions especially. Thank for every single moment!

  • After seeing Kenny Read on this race, I would be proud to sail with him anywhere as well. A true gentleman ... We are proud of you and the PUMA crew and hope to have the good fortune to meet you some day

  • This is a lesson to teach in every sailing school worlwide.Great example of sportmanship doesn't matter about the result at the end i have ten good friends around this planet. Ken Read what a man and a great skipper also anyone was crewing could understand how important is receive the compliments publicly from the Captain.

  • Thanks to Kenny and his crew and the entire VOR gang for an amazing nine month ride. You have taken us with us thru the depths of despair to the joys of victory. And when it all comes out in the wash, you have given us the best of all wins: respect and care for team mates, other crews and even we fans. Bravo.

  • What a fabulous bunch of guys you are on Puma! You've given us so much excitement for 9 months. Greatest thing is that you're such close friends: - to take that home says it all! Congratulations on a truly warm & generous spirit.

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