Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

The local heroes on Xabi Fernàndez’s MAPFRE were a popular winner in the first point scoring race of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The local heroes on Xabi Fernández’s MAPFRE were a popular winner in the first point scoring race of the Volvo Ocean Race.

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,” explained 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.”

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

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.”

Watch the highlight video here

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.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

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 the race.

“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 the skipper of Team Brunel. “But we sailed the boat very nicely. All in all, we’re pretty happy with how we sailed today.”

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race.

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, the skipper of Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante — Results

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
Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

Alicante stopover. MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 October, 2017.

 

May 14, 2015. Volvo Ocean Race Practice Race in Newport. ( Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez /Volvo Ocean Race )

May 14, 2015. Volvo Ocean Race Practice Race in Newport. ( Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez /Volvo Ocean Race )

Volvo Ocean Race COO Tom Touber today joined Sail Newport’s Brad Read and Governor Gina Raimondo, to announce that the Race will be heading back to the Ocean State for the 2017-18 edition
–       Rhode Island town to host race for a second time in 2018
–       Governor Raimondo heralds Newport’s achievement
–       More port announcements to come in the New Year

NEWPORT, Rhode Island, October 30 – Newport, Rhode Island, will once again host the North American stopover for the 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18 following the success of the sailing-mad coastal town’s hosting of the world’s leading offshore event in May.

“We’re delighted to be able to confirm that Newport will be staging a second consecutive stopover in 2018,” said Race COO, Tom Touber, at Friday’s (October 30) official announcement.

Volvo Ocean Race COO, Tom Touber ( Photo by Cory Silken )

Volvo Ocean Race COO, Tom Touber ( Photo by Cory Silken )

“Everything worked brilliantly in Newport in May thanks to the great work of Brad Read and his team plus the backing of the Governor, legislative leaders and State of Rhode Island agencies, and we were delighted with the large amount of spectators from our major fan base in the U.S. and elsewhere, who supported the stopover.

“Moreover, the Newport stopover was greatly valued by our stakeholders, who very much enjoyed visiting the area for its history, culture and, of course, the commercial opportunities it provided.”

The news that Newport will again be hosting the event means that seven ports for the next edition of the 42-year-old race are already known.

The east coast port joins Alicante (Spain), Cape Town (South Africa), Auckland (New Zealand), Cardiff (United Kingdom), Lisbon (Portugal) and Gothenburg (Sweden) on the list of confirmed stopovers for the 2017-18 edition.

“The route is already shaping up very nicely, although we have several more key port announcements to come, probably early in the New Year,” added Touber.

Rhode Island Governor, Gina M. Raimondo, who joined Volvo Ocean Race officials and Stopover Director Brad Read in Friday’s announcement ceremony at the State Room in the State capital, Providence, said:

“Rhode Island looks forward to welcoming back the Volvo Ocean Race in 2018, and we’re honoured to be among this list of world-class port destinations.”

She added: “This year’s event was a great success, drawing more than 130,000 fans from across the U.S. and abroad. We look forward to once again showcasing Rhode Island as a great place to visit – and do business.”

Brad Read, who heads Sail Newport, which masterminded the stopover this year, was delighted to have the chance to repeat – and improve on – the success of their inaugural hosting of the round-the-world marathon.

“Sail Newport, the Department of Environmental Management, and State Leadership, together with all of our outstanding partners, organised and hosted the most successful North American stopover in Volvo Ocean Race history,” he said.

“We did this as a non-profit organization combined with a whole lot of community heart and passion because we knew the event would be a remarkable success.”

He continued: “I believe strongly that tourists, fans, sponsors and media will travel from all over the world to Rhode Island to be part of the next Newport stopover.

“Everyone wants the Race back here. The State, the marine, business, education communities, and fans, will follow the Race until it arrives back at Castle Hill in 2018.”

The precise dates of the fleet’s visit in 2018 are not yet known but will be announced when the full route is unveiled early next year.

May 17, 2015. Leg 7 Start in Newport; Crowds gather to watch the teams race in port before heading out towards Lisbon. (Photo by Marc Bow / Volvo Ocean Race )

May 17, 2015. Leg 7 Start in Newport; Crowds gather to watch the teams race in port before heading out towards Lisbon. (Photo by Marc Bow / Volvo Ocean Race )