#1 in Leg 5 Auckland to Itajai, in the Volvo Ocean Race

And we’re back! Auckland seems both like it just happened yesterday and like it happened several months ago. Such is the feeling of the Volvo Ocean Race when it’s all GO! full speed ahead, since the start in Alicante.

It was PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG who took first place in Leg 5 – Auckland to Itajai. Battling the Southern Ocean the Mar Mostro and its crew proved to be they were a match for the challenge!

Now that the team is in port getting ready for the start of the next leg, the Volvo Ocean Race village is coming alive in Itajai. It’s sure to be an incredible stopover!

Photo credits: Amory Ross & Chris Hill, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG

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Leg 5 in the Volvo Ocean Race Underway as the Fleet Heads into the Southern Ocean

The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG team departed Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday, March 18, for the start of Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. After rounding the buoys during the in-port loop in Auckland, PUMA’s Mar Mostro sailed past Rangitoto Island and began the 6,705 nautical mile journey through the Southern Ocean and on to Itajaí, Brazil.

“I think we’re optimistic,” said skipper Ken Read. “We’re communicating well onboard, we’re sailing the boat a little better, we improved our speed a touch. Hopefully we’re on a roll and can sort of ride the momentum.”

Leg 5 takes the fleet through the formidable Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn with the trip to last around 17 days. Gale-force winds are expected during the first two days, blowing 30-40 knots with big seas.

“The forecast into the Southern Ocean looks like it’s going to be pretty full on for a long period of time,” Read said. “We’re going to have to be respectful of where we’re going, but at the same time we’re in a race. It’s a tough mix. But, there’s not a sailor in this race that is not going to treat this leg with a lot of respect.”

Thomas Johanson (Espoo, Finland) will sail in place of helmsman Kelvin Harrap (Napier, New Zealand) onboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro for the leg from Auckland to Itajaí. Harrap will take a break due to carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms as well as bursitis in his elbow. Johanson sailed as a member of the Ericsson 3 crew during the 2008-09 edition of the race and won the leg through the Southern Ocean.

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Volvo Ocean Race teams gearing up for the Southern Ocean

The Volvo Ocean Race teams are getting ready for an intense Leg as they prepare to sail the Southern Ocean from Auckland to Itajai. Check out what PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG bowman Casey Smith has to say about it here:


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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (MARCH 14, 2012) – The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG team has announced that Thomas Johanson will join the crew for Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Johanson, from Espoo, Finland, will take the place of helmsman Kelvin Harrap (Napier, New Zealand) onboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro for the journey from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil, which gets underway on Sunday, March 18. Harrap, who will take a break due to carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms as well as bursitis in his elbow, will remain part of the crew through the In-Port Race on Saturday, March 17.

“Kelvin is a huge part of our crew, and it’s tough to lose him at this stage in the game,” said PUMA skipper Ken Read. “We’re facing what is always a tough and daunting leg in the race – the Southern Ocean. So, we’re incredibly lucky Thomas is able to bring his knowledge and experience to this team for a stretch of sailing he honestly enjoys. The Southern Ocean is no place to sail with injuries that impact your ability to be fast and safe. Its a good time to try and get Kelvin healthy again.”

Johanson, age 42, returns to the Volvo Ocean Race after sailing onboard Ericsson 3 and finishing fourth during the 2008-09 edition of the race. A three-time Olympian (1996, 2000, 2004), he captured the gold medal in the 49er class at the 2000 Olympic Games along with teammate Jyrki Jarvi – Finland’s first medal in sailing in 20 years. Johanson won bronze at the 2000 World Championships, he is also a two-time Laser European Champion (1991, 1992) and captured the Laser World Championship in 1993 – a regatta held in Auckland. He recently served as skipper of the 60-foot trimaran TietoEnator from 2004-06.

“I’m excited to be joining the PUMA crew, and this is the best leg in the Volvo Ocean Race,” Johanson said. “The last time I sailed through the Southern Ocean we won the leg, so it brings good memories. The Southern Ocean is both scary and rewarding at the same time. I’m already focused on getting ready for the night sailing, the risks of icebergs as you go so far south, and all that the leg involves. And, the last time I was in Auckland was in 1993 when I won the Laser World Championship – it was also a big moment for me.”

Harrap will begin treatment immediately in New Zealand. If the treatment is successful he is expected to rejoin the crew at the conclusion of Leg 5 in Brazil. He is facing post-race surgery regardless. Harrap, who is in the midst of his third round the world race, was named to the PUMA team in March 2011. He has served as helmsman and inshore tactician since the start of this year’s race.

Thomas Johanson förbereder sig för Volvo Ocean Race


(översatt från press release)
Thomas Johanson ansluter till PUMA/BERG Propulsion i för leg 5.

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by svenska BERG Propulsion meddelade att Thomas Johanson ansluter för att vara med på leg 5 i Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Finlandsvenske Johanson, från Espoo i Finland kommer att ta platsen som styrman istället för Kelvin Harrap från Nya Zeeland. Leg 5 sträcker sig från Auckland, Nya Zeeland till Itajai, Brasilien och startar på Söndag den 18:e Mars. Kelvin Harrap kommer att ta en pause pågrund av karpaltunnelsyndrom i båda armarna(medicinsk åkomma som kan orsakas av motorisk överbelastning) men är med som crew på Lördagens in-port race.

“Kelvin är en betydande medlem av vår besättning och det är tufft att mista honom nu”

Thomas Johanson, ålder 42, återvänder till Volvo Ocean Race efter att ha seglat ombord Ericsson 3 under Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Thomas är trefaldig olympisk seglare (1996, 2000, 2004) och han fick guldmedalj i 49er klassen under OS 2000 tillsammans med lagkamraten Jyrki Järvi. Johanson vann brons på 2000 VM, han är också en tvåfaldig Laser EM mästare (1991, 1992) och han vann också Laser VM 1993 i Auckland. Nyligen va Thomas också skeppare på 60 fots trimaranen TietoEnator.

“Jag ser fram emot att få gå ombord på PUMA Ocean Racing – BERG Propulsion båten och detta är den bästa etappen i Volvo Ocean Race”, säger Johanson “Förra gången jag seglade genom södra oceanen så vann vi etappen, så det ger goda minnen! Södra oceanen är både skrämmande och givande på samma gång. Jag är redan fokuserad på att göra mig redo för nattseglingen, där riskerna för isberg är höga i och med att vi går så långt söderut. Givetvis är det också mycket annat som den här etappen innebär.”

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