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VOR Sailors Encounter Rough Waters in West

The hard-earned DHL Shore Crew Award was awarded to Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing for last minute repairs effected in Sanya.

© Todd, Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012

After three weeks at sea, the skippers were frank about the 5,220 nautical mile leg from Sanya – it was tough. But Groupama sailed to triumph despite a hole in the hull that threatened to end their dreams within 100 miles of the finish line in Auckland.

Media crew member Yann Riou had reported the issue tersely from on deck.

"All pumps, buckets and scoops as well as most of men are requisitioned," Riou said. "After a few minutes, we saw that the water level had dropped. Relief."

Eventually 1.5 tons of water was pumped out of the boat, and Groupama still beat the next team into Auckland by 12 hours.

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG came in second, followed by Team Telefónica who just barely managed to keep CAMPER out of the top three. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing came in fifth, with Team Sanya bringing up the rear.

The overall scoreboard remains largely unchanged. Telefónica still dominates with 121 aggregate points, Groupama definitely made advances with this victory and now sits in second place with 103 points, then comes CAMPER with 98, PUMA has 78, Abu Dhabi has 53 and Sanya, who still needs a major victory, has 22 points. The race is still far from over, however, with only four of the nine legs complete.

DHL Shore Crew Award

While the crews enjoyed a few days of eating real food and spending time with family in Auckland, not everyone got to relax. The shore crews worked feverishly to get the fleet seaworthy, especially in the case of Groupama and the gaping hole in their bow.

© Todd, Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012
Gary Edstein, Senior Vice President, Oceania, DHL Express, presents the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing shore crew with the DHL Shore Crew Award for Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, at the Prize Giving Ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand. ©Roman, Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012

The efforts of the shore personnel are crucial to the competition and DHL makes sure they don't go unrecognized.

The most recent winners of the DHL Shore Crew Award were Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. The prize was awarded after Abu Dhabi’s shore crew members went above, beyond and even overboard to repair a number of scrapes on the hull incurred after it ran aground before the in-port race at Sanya.

Abu Dhabi technical shore manager Mike Danks sanded out the damage underwater, preventing the need for the boat to be hauled out for repairs, and sent Abu Dhabi on their way into Leg 4.

The past few days have been intense for the shore crews as the delayed start in Sanya and conditions throughout Leg 4 meant a desperately short stopover in Auckland. All the boats are expected to be in the water for the in-port race on Saturday, March 17, and the start of Leg 5 to Itajaí, Brazil, the following day – the longest leg and one of the most arduous of the race.

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