Friendly Rivalry for PUMA, Groupama in Alicante Pro-Am

It was a ride of a lifetime in picture perfect conditions for more than 100 guests, including Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Puma CEO Franz Koch, in the first Pro-Am Race of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 today.

Pro-Am Race day during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Alicante stopover. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG.

“I like the speed, I like that it’s pure wind that makes the boat go really quick, as fast as 40 knots. It’s an incredible atmosphere, just super.’’

Prince Carl Philip was brushing sea-spray from his face when he returned to the dock after reaching speeds in excess of 22 knots on PUMA’s Mar Mostro.

“I like the speed, I like that it’s pure wind that makes the boat go really quick, as fast as 40 knots. It’s an incredible atmosphere, just super,’’ he said.

Pro-Am Race day during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Alicante stopover. Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, guest on PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG.It’s the third time the 32-year-old royal has taken part in the Volvo Ocean Race in-port racing, but the chance of seeing him compete in an off-shore leg is slim he reckons.

“I think going on the big legs I will leave to the guys,’’ he said. “They know what they’re doing and they’re great at. It would be fun, but maybe not for that long.’’

The Pro-Ams are designed to give sponsors and guests an experience as close to that of true professional sailing. There are no points for the official Volvo Ocean Race leaderboard, meaning Groupama sailing board were celebrating an honorary victory.

Skipper Franck Cammas lead his team to two victories out of the three quickfire inshore races around Alicante Bay in a consistent 18-knot easterly breeze.

The PUMA crew won race two and finished second in race one and three behind Groupama 4 to place second overall.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand finished third, followed by Team Telefónica, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Sanya.

Guests get the chance to trim sails, navigate a route and even take the helm along ide sailing’s elite including Olympic gold medallists, America’s Cup competitors and world champions.

Volvo Cars sponsorship director Karin Bäcklund said the Pro-Am Race at each of the 10 Host Ports was an important event for participants and race organisers alike.

“It’s huge because it is an experience that money can’t buy and I know that these guys are coming back to shore super exhilarated and super happy after a great experience, so that’s very unique for our customers, sponsors and supporters,’’ she said.

The six teams now have less than one week to make the final tweaks to their yachts before they set off from Alicante bound for Cape Town, South Africa, the first of nine offshore legs. Leg one starts at 1300 UTC (1400 local time) on November 5 and is expected to take around 21 days to complete.

Results

Race one: 1. Groupama, 2. PUMA , 3. CAMPER, 4. Abu Dhabi, 5. Sanya. Telefónica disqualified.

Race two: 1. PUMA, 2. Groupama, 3. Telefónica, 4. CAMPER, 5. Abu Dhabi. Sanya disqualified.

Race three: 1. Groupama, 2. PUMA, 3. Sanya, 4. Telefónica, 5. Abu Dhabi 6. CAMPER

Overall: 1. Groupama, 2. PUMA, 3. CAMPER, 4. Telefónica, 5. Abu Dhabi, 6. Sanya

Content via Volvo Ocean Race. Photos by Paul Todd and Ian Roman / Volvo Ocean Race

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