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Final results:

1. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand / 1 day, 13 hours, 40 minutes, 13 seconds / 30 points

2. Groupama sailing team / 1 day, 13 hours, 47 minutes, 11 seconds / 25 points

3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG / 1 day, 13 hours, 53 minutes, 01 seconds / 20 points

4. Team Telefónica / 1 day, 13 hours, 57 minutes, 33 seconds / 15 points

5. Team Sanya / 1 day, 16 hours, 12 minutes, 27 seconds / 10 points

6. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / 1 day, 16 hours, 21 minutes, 29 seconds / 5 points

The final offshore of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 -- a flat out 550 mile sprint across the English Channel from Lorient to Galway -- was treated by the teams more like a long in-port race than a short offshore race.

There was drama from the very off, as CAMPER were penalised for a start line incident involving overall race leaders Groupama, leaving Chris Nicholson’s team playing catch up.

Team Telefónica tore around the opening inshore section to lead the fleet out of  France towards Ireland, followed by PUMA and Abu Dhabi.

Within hours CAMPER were right back in it after cutting the corner of Belle Île and closing the gap on Telefónica to less than a mile, as PUMA and Groupama also jostled for the lead.

With Abu Dhabi suffering from keel problems and Team Sanya´s older hull design struggling to keep up with the newer boats, the top four steadily edged away on the first night as the fleet powered towards Ireland at speeds over 20 knots.

Just six minutes separated the top four when PUMA led around Fastnet Rock off the southern tip of Ireland at around 1030 UTC the next morning, followed by Telefónica, Groupama and CAMPER.

As the wind freshened in the afternoon, the fleet made rapid progress up the west coast of Ireland sailing in fast running conditions, with leaders PUMA under constant attack from their trio of rivals.

By early evening and with the breeze starting to fade, a beleaguered PUMA were struggling to defend against a three-way attack from CAMPER, Groupama and Telefónica.

Around midnight local time CAMPER eased ahead as the top four closed within 10 miles of the Galway finish where massive crowds had packed the race village to await their arrival.

The final two hours were nerve wracking for CAMPER who had to dig deep to hold off overall race leaders Groupama in increasingly fickle winds on the final approach to Galway.

Chris Nicholson’s crew held their nerve and crossed the line at 0042 UTC to close out their first leg win of the race and all but lock up second place overall.

Shortly behind them, Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team began to celebrate as they finished in second place -- a result which sealed their overall Volvo Ocean Race victory at their first attempt.

Ken Read’s disappointed PUMA crew ghosted home in third with Iker Martínez’s Team Telefónica finishing fourth and around three hours later Mike Sanderson brought Team Sanya home in fifth after previously getting the better of Ian Walker´s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing when they hooked a lobster pot.

Despite finishing in the middle of the night all six teams received a rapturous welcome from the massed crowds in the race village who cheered each and every boat into the harbour.

With just the Discover Ireland In-Port Race left to sail Groupama were confirmed as overall race winners, with CAMPER needing only to finish the in-port to secure second place, ahead of third placed PUMA.


- Leg start course map

- Leg 9 crew list


485 nautical miles (558 miles, 898 kilometres)

The race’s final sprint from France to Ireland takes the fleet on a predominantly coastal course: first north along the shores of western Brittany, then across the English Channel and up the prehistoric south coast of Ireland to the finish line in Galway.

Short as it is compared to the preceding legs, this final passage is fraught with obstacles to be negotiated including commercial shipping lanes and rocky outcrops, as well as a seemingly endless series of headlands and major tidal gates. Added to this is the potential for rapidly changing weather conditions, which will keep the crews on their toes as they battle their way to the finish line in Galway.


- Leg start course map

- Leg 9 crew list

Secondary Content


Groupama sailing team
CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ
PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG
Team Telefónica
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Team Sanya