Spanish boat MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) dominated from start to finish to claim their first victory in the Volvo Ocean Race in-port series in Newport, USA on Saturday.
The MAPFRE victory in the Team Vestas Wind In-Port Race Newport, achieved after they grabbed a narrow advantage at the first mark, will be particularly sweet for skipper Martínez who was returning to the crew after missing the previous leg through other commitments.
hey were chased all the way by the home-town favourites, Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), who were delighted to finish second on the podium, but never really threatened to mar MAPFRE’s day after Martínez led them from an early advantage in overcast conditions.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) could be forgiven for being almost as happy with the result as the two boats that beat them, having trailed during the first leg.
A positioning error by the women of Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) gave them the break they needed to claim the final podium place in third.
This result gives Abu Dhabi the lead in the in-port race series on 19 points.
The victory will put MAPFRE in an excellent mood ahead of Sunday’s Leg 7 departure for Lisbon, Portugal (1400 EST/1800 UTC).
The stage is by far the shortest so far at 2,800 nautical miles, but also potentially treacherous as the fleet crosses the Atlantic.
The boats are expected to arrive in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon in eight to nine days before taking on the final two legs to Lorient, France, and then Gothenburg, Sweden, where the race will conclude on June 27.
Newport Team Vestas Wind In-Port Race results: 1. MAPFRE (Spain) 14:55:41 1pt, 2. Team Alvimedica (Turkey/USA) 14:56:39 2, 3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 14:57:38 3, 4. Team SCA (Sweden) 14:57:57 4, 5. Team Brunel (Netherlands) 14:58:17 5, 6. Dongfeng Race Team (China) 14:59:09 6, DNS. Team Vestas Wind (Denmark) 8.
In-Port Race Series overall standings (after seven races): 1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 19pts, 2. Team Brunel 20, 3. Team SCA 24, 4. Dongfeng Race Team 27, 5. Team Alvimedica 28, 6. MAPFRE 31, 7. Team Vestas Wind 52.