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#VOR - The local heroes on Xabi Fernández's MAPFRE were popular winners in the first in-port race — and first point-scoring race — of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante on Saturday (14 October).

Fernández and his team made a bold call at the start to duck behind the entire fleet in order to sail up what turned out to be the favoured right-hand side of the course, coming from behind to earn a narrow lead at the first gate.

“It was pretty clear from Joan [Vila] and Rob [Greenhalgh] that we wanted to hit the right side of the course in the first upwind looking for more breeze,” said Fernández.

“Our intention was to start on port but Pablo [Arrarte] saw the gap himself when Brunel did a poor tack and they couldn’t accelerate so we want for the cross and we had plenty of room and once we hit the right everything went well.”

MAPFRE then managed to stretch out to a lead of nearly one minute at the bottom gate, giving them a lead they would enjoy the rest of the way.

“The truth is it hasn’t been an easy race but we took a bit of a risk at the start," Fernández said after the finish. "We saw the gap in front of Brunel and we went for it. Everything went really well.”

In fact, the Spanish team sailed a flawless race, in terms of strategy and execution, and were never threatened after grabbing the lead at the first mark.

But behind them, it was a hard-fought race. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag was strong on the first leg, but dropped back over the course of the race.

In contrast, Dongfeng Race Team fought up the fleet to grab second place, battling with Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel who were trading places throughout.

“There was a lot of action! MAPFRE played their own game alone but behind them, we had a big fight for second place. It’s good, it’s good,” said skipper Charles Caudrelier on Dongfeng Race Team.

“We showed how we can sail well, after having not such good results in the last few days. It’s great that we managed to come back and get this result.”

“It was a very exciting first in-port race for us,” said Charlie Enright, the skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

“They’re always really close. You know, when you’re racing these 65-foot canting keel boats around a one-mile track it gets interesting, with a lot of exchanges and big headsails and a lot of grinding. We did some good things and some bad things and got third place. All in all, not a bad way to start the campaign.”

“I had a bad start and that put us on the back foot,” said Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Team Brunel. “But we sailed the boat very nicely. All in all, we're pretty happy with how we sailed today.”

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag made a late gain to grab fifth over team AkzoNobel with Turn the Tide on Plastic never recovering from a poor first leg.

“It was okay. Fifth’s not great but it was okay. We were second at the top but we just made one mistake on the first run and it cost us. Basically, it was good. Amazing to be racing here in Alicante,” said David Witt, skipper of Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

Provisional results of the first in-port race are as follows:

Position Team Elapsed Time Points
1 MAPFRE 54:38 7
2 Dongfeng Race Team 56:06 6
3 Vestas 11th Hour Racing 56:54 5
4 Team Brunel 57:13 4
5 Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 58:07 3
6 team AkzoNobel 58:31 2
7 Turn the Tide on Plastic 59:39 1
Published in Volvo Ocean Race
Tagged under
#VOLVO OCEAN RACE - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's challenge was nearly scuppered at the outset when their yacht suffered a broken mast just hours into the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race yesterday.
The accident occurred 30 nautical miles south of Cartagena on the Spanish Mediterranean, when the yacht Azzam encountered rough weather some six hours after leaving Alicante.
"Our mast broke into three pieces when landing off a big wave in 30+ knots of wind," said skipper Ian Walker. "We were sailing under a J4 and two reefs. We do not as yet know the cause."
The broken mast pieces and rig were recovered, thanks to the "courageous" intervention of crewman Wade Morgan, who entered the water to cut away the top of the mainsail.
Walker added: “The mast from the first spreader up is now secured to the port side of the boat. About three or four metres protrude from behind the boat. A spider web of lines is keeping the operation intact. The crew are deeply disappointed.”
Yacht and crew - which includes Wexford man Justin Slattery - were last night headed towards the flatter water at Cabo de Palos before returning to Alicante under motor to begin repairs and get back in the race.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are one of six teams competing in the epic round-the-world yacht race, which is set to finish in Galway next July.
Earlier this week the team finished first in the initial in-port race of the competition.
The official Volvo Ocean Race website has more on the story HERE.

#VOLVO OCEAN RACE - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's challenge was nearly scuppered at the outset when their yacht suffered a broken mast just hours into the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race yesterday. Dismast photos by Paul Todd below.

The accident occurred 30 nautical miles south of Cartagena on the Spanish Mediterranean, when the yacht Azzam encountered rough weather some six hours after leaving Alicante.

"Our mast broke into three pieces when landing off a big wave in 30+ knots of wind," said skipper Ian Walker. "We were sailing under a J4 and two reefs. We do not as yet know the cause."

 

VOR2abudhabi

A first leg disaster for Ian Walker on Abu Dhabi - Photo: Paul Todd

The broken mast pieces and rig were recovered, thanks to the "courageous" intervention of crewman Wade Morgan, who entered the water to cut away the top of the mainsail.

Walker added: “The mast from the first spreader up is now secured to the port side of the boat. About three or four metres protrude from behind the boat. A spider web of lines is keeping the operation intact. The crew are deeply disappointed.”

Yacht and crew - which includes Wexford man Justin Slattery - were last night headed towards the flatter water at Cabo de Palos before returning to Alicante under motor to begin repairs and get back in the race.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are one of six teams competing in the epic round-the-world yacht race, which is set to finish in Galway next July.

Earlier this week the team finished first in the initial in-port race of the competition.

The official Volvo Ocean Race website has more on the story HERE.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
The first of the in-port races ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race start tomorrow in Alicante – and top Irish sailors are among the six teams competing.
Wexford’s Justin Slattery is on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, which is competing in the race for the first time.
Skipper Ian Walker told Sail World: "Everything is ready and we can’t wait to line up against the other teams... The forecast is for strong breeze on Saturday so there will be extra pressure on the crew to get it right."
The team has another Ireland connection in its commercial director David Hassett, a veteran of the Irish yachting scene and backer of Ireland's Green Dragon team in the 2009 race.
Elsewhere, Kerryman Damian Foxall is a watch leader on Groupama, captained by debuting VOR skipper Franck Cammas - who last month received one of France's most prestigious sporting honours.
Meanwhile, the Chinese entry Team Sanya, which is part sponsored by Discover Ireland, is hoping skipper Mike Sanderson - who took Telefónica Blue to the podium at every stage in the 2009-09 race - can repeat his past successes.
In-port races take place in all 10 host ports along the 39,000-nautical-mile route, and as they account for more than 20% of the points, no team will be taking them easy.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a delegation from Galway - hosts of the final stage of the race next summer - will be in Spain for a week of events beginning tomorrow ahead of the start of the race proper on 5 November.
Sail World has more on the story HERE.

The first of the in-port races ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race start tomorrow in Alicante – and top Irish sailors are among the six teams competing.

Wexford’s Justin Slattery is on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, which is competing in the race for the first time.

Skipper Ian Walker told Sail World: "Everything is ready and we can’t wait to line up against the other teams... The forecast is for strong breeze on Saturday so there will be extra pressure on the crew to get it right."

The team has another Ireland connection in its commercial director David Hassett, a veteran of the Irish yachting scene and backer of Ireland's Green Dragon team in the 2009 race.

Elsewhere, Kerryman Damian Foxall is a watch leader on Groupama, captained by debuting VOR skipper Franck Cammas - who last month received one of France's most prestigious sporting honours.

Meanwhile, the Chinese entry Team Sanya, which is part sponsored by Discover Ireland, is hoping skipper Mike Sanderson - who took Telefónica Blue to the podium at every stage in the 2009-09 race - can repeat his past successes.

In-port races take place in all 10 host ports along the 39,000-nautical-mile route, and as they account for more than 20% of the points, no team will be taking them easy.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a delegation from Galway - hosts of the final stage of the race next summer - will be in Spain for a week of events beginning tomorrow ahead of the start of the race proper on 5 November.

Sail World has more on the story HERE.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

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