22 June 2015: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crossed the Inmarsat Finish Line in Gothenburg safe in the knowledge that they had won the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 edition – nine-months and 38,739-nautical miles (nm) after the race began in Alicante, Spain on 4 October 2014.
It’s taken UK skipper Ian Walker three attempts to lift the winning trophy and bask in the glory of adding the Volvo Ocean Race title to his two Olympic medals – realising his long held ambition and dream.
The win was all but in the bag as the crew set off in Lorient, France on 16 June on the final stage of the race – only a last place in Leg 9 plus two penalty points could knock them off the top of the overall scoreboard.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing sailed a careful last 1,000 nm to come in fifth but from the smiles on their faces and the hugs, it was clear who the real winners were in Sweden!
“I said at the start of the race that I was confident, but there are a hundred ways to lose this race, but only one way to win it. And it just all came together for us perfectly,” an ecstatic Ian Walker told reporters on the dockside.
“This is special because we did it as a team. It’s only when I get to share this with friends and family that I’ll really process it,”
A second place win in Leg 9 has secured Team Brunel with the runner-up place in the Volvo Ocean Race, followed by Dongfeng Race Team who takes third, an amazing achievement for a crew that includes four Chines rookie sailors.
The excitement is still not over however as MAPFRE and Team Alvimedica vie for fourth place – which will now be decided in the final act of the 2014-15 edition at the Inmarsat In Port Race Gothenburg on 27 June.
The crew and sponsors of sixth-place Team Vestas Wind had cause for their own celebrations, having re-joined the race in Lisbon, after grounding on a reef in the Indian Ocean on Leg 2 last November, to secure second place in Leg 8 to Lorient.
In seventh are all-women crew Team SCA who firmly stamped their mark with their victory in Lorient, becoming the first female crew to win a stage of the Volvo Ocean Race in 25 years, proving that women are just as competitive as men in the world’s most extreme offshore sailing event.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will be officially presented with their trophy at a Volvo Ocean Race Gala Awards ceremony on 27 June, when Inmarsat will also present a cheque for €20,000 to the winner of its Onboard Reporter (OBR) Awards.
The OBR Awards recognise the skill of the nine journalists who have been capturing life at the extreme and sending back amazing footage, stunning images and compelling stories from the boats throughout the race – made possible by Inmarsat’s connectivity.
A top panel of judges, including BAFTA award-winning director Wayne Yates and BBC Sports Correspondent Andy Swiss, will decide not only who will win the coveted prize but also the two runners-up prizes of €8,000 each.
For more information visit www.inmarsat.co.uk/vor.