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Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

Telefonica Blue wins Volvo stage

Bouwe Bekking
Dutch veteran Bekking is the skipper of the Spanish boat

Spanish yacht Telefonica Blue won the third stage of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race, from India to Singapore, on Monday.

The boat, skippered by Dutch veteran Bouwe Bekking, arrived at its destination at 1451 GMT.

America's Puma Ocean Racing snatched second place, just in front of the all-Nordic crew of Ericsson 3 who beat pre-race favourites Ericsson 4 into fourth.

Ericsson 4 leads overall from Telefonica Blue and Puma Ocean Racing.

It was among the closest finishes in the race history, with the top four boats finishing within 20 minutes following nearly 10 days of racing.

"It is a very sweet victory," said Bekking. "It was incredible for us. We were in the lead, then we lost it and then took it back again.

"In the final six or seven miles, the breeze died completely and the other guys got very close, then we got a little puff of breeze and I managed to bring her home.

"I have never seen the guys so happy. I have known them for quite a while and normally they are very cool, but they were just ecstatic when they went through the finish. It is a huge thing for us."

Puma skipper Ken Read said: "I have never done anything like this before. Not really sure I want to do it again. Unbelievable.

"Hats off to the Telefonica guys, they did a nice job, congratulations. Nobody can remember the last time they either slept or ate. It has really been all hands on."

The 10-leg race is due to finish in St Petersburg in June 2009.

see also
Ericsson 4 claim Volvo Ocean leg
02 Nov 08 |  Other sport...
Swedish boat breaks 24-hour mark
29 Oct 08 |  Other sport...
Walker to set sail in Volvo race
10 Oct 08 |  Other sport...

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