Team Alvimedica claimed their second Volvo Ocean Race in-port race series victory today after leaving their rivals trailing following a delayed start due to lack of wind.
With helmsman Alberto Bolzan of Italy driving, Team Alvimedica went for the right at the start and sailed a textbook inshore race, leading the fleet around the six-leg course.
“It was a good game plan with good execution and we kept it clean,” said American skipper Charlie Enright of Bristol, RI, who called tactics today. “We are looking forward to the leg to Gothenburg and will try to build off this result.”
For the Italian helmsman, the perfect result gives the team a shot of momentum going into the final stretch of the around-the-world marathon. “Better than this is impossible.”
The victory, which follows their triumph in the opening in-port race in Alicante eight months ago, bolsters the hopes of Charlie Enright’s crew to claim a much-coveted final podium finish in the In-Port series that concludes in Gothenburg, Sweden, on June 27.
The series also acts as a tie-breaker for the tightly contested second and third places in the offshore competition that also finishes in Gothenburg the week after next.
A lack of breeze on the race track kept the fans in Lorient waiting some 30 minutes before the action started, but there was drama aplenty from the off.
MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) were forced to duck behind the rest of the seven-strong fleet as a premature start loomed and they immediately conceded seemingly costly ground on their rivals in such a key race.
Team Alvimedica had no such problems and led the boats on the windier right hand side of the course, giving them a good advantage in the chase to the first gate.
Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) and Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS), first and second respectively in Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient, chose the lefthand side of the course and that stored up problems for them as they approached the first mark.
Both were ordered to take penalty turns. The all-women’s crew for apparently failing to give MAPFRE enough space (water) as they tacked around the mark, and Team Vestas Wind for commiting a similar offence against Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED).
The fleet split right and left on the next leg, while Team Alvimedica cruised untroubled away at the head of the fleet, building their lead to around 300 metres.
By the fourth leg, the young Turkish/American-backed crew continued to stretch away with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing heading the chasing pack and quite happy to consolidate their position at the top of the overall in-port race standings if they could.
The result now was in no doubt in terms of who would win, but Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team were still separated by only metres as the fifth leg continued.
As the leg finished, Azzam and no less than three other boats converged on the mark with Team Brunel, MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team scrapping for second place with the Emirati boat.
Into the final leg, MAPFRE steamed through in the closing stages with a perfect angle and extra wind to snatch second from Walker’s crew and Dongfeng Race Team also bypassed the Emirati boat as the line approached, leaving them fourth.
Team SCA then won a three-way showdown for fifth, just ahead of Team Brunel with Team Vestas Wind taking seventh.
The results leave the in-port standings perfectly poised for the final deciding race in Gothenburg on June 27.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, the overall event winners elect, are still top on 25 points, six clear of Team Brunel (31), with Team Alvimedica (32), Team SCA (33), MAPFRE (34) and Dongfeng Race Team (36) all with good chances of podium places.
Team Vestas Wind, who missed all the in-port races from Abu Dhabi to Newport, Rhode Island, because of their rebuild following a collision with a reef, are on 66 points.
The final offshore leg from Lorient, France to Gothenburg, Sweden (1,600 nm), which includes a pit-stop in The Hague, begins June 16 with an ETA of June 21-24. Click here for crew list. The final In-Port race will be held in Gothenburg on June 27.
Lorient In-Port Race results
1. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA)
2. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP)
3. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR)
5. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR)
6. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED)
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS)
In-Port Race Overall standings (9 races)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 25pts
2. Team Brunel – 31pts
3. Team Alvimedica – 32pts
4. Team SCA – 33pts
5. MAPFRE – 34pts
6. Dongfeng Race Team- 36pts
7. Team Vestas Wind – 66pts
The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on Oct. 11 with the final finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, seven teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition, the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series.