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.

Anna Tunnicliffe, Iker Martínez and Xabier Fernández (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

Anna Tunnicliffe, Iker Martínez and Xabier Fernández (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

 

 ISAF and Rolex are proud to announce that the male and female winners of the 2011 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are:

Iker Martínez & Xabier Fernández (ESP) and Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)

The renowned two-man crew of Iker Martínez and Xabier Fernández (ESP) were unable to attend the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards ceremony in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Fittingly, they are currently at sea competing for Team Telefónica in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. The Spanish duo have won the Award eleven years after the first of their three nominations. Through a video feed recorded on the Team Telefónica boat, the pair confirmed that they will be celebrating this prestigious achievement despite the immediate distractions of an ocean race.

United States athlete Anna Tunnicliffe was one of five nominees present at the ceremony, held in the impressive Cuartel de Ballaja. It is the second time that the ISAF Sailing World Cup champion in Women’s Match Racing has been awarded the honour, having previously achieved the recognition in 2009. An emotional Tunnicliffe was presented with the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Trophy and Rolex timepiece and commented: “Thank you very much for this award, it is a true honour. Congratulations to all of the other nominees, you guys are fantastic and amazing sailors. I really have to thank everyone that’s been part of the reason I won this award, especially my team. This is truly a team effort. I couldn’t have done it without them. I would also like to thank my family and my husband for being very supportive and my sponsors. It is truly amazing. Thank you.”

2011 ISAF Rolex Sailor Of The Year Trophy (Photo by Rolex /  Daniel Forster)

2011 ISAF Rolex Sailor Of The Year Trophy (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards

The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award is the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of his/her outstanding achievements. The Awards are presented annually based on a worldwide selection process that incorporates an open invitation for nominations, followed by a vote amongst the over 130 member nations of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

The Awards have been held every year since 1994 and past winners include Peter Blake (NZL), Ellen MacArthur (GBR), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Robert Scheidt (BRA) and Russell Coutts (SUI). In 2010 the Awards were presented to Tom Slingsby (AUS) and Blanca Manchón (ESP).

2011 Nominees The nominees from left: Lorenzo Bressani (ITA), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU), Rob Douglas (USA), Dee Caffari (GBR) (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

2011 Nominees The nominees from left: Lorenzo Bressani (ITA), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU), Rob Douglas (USA), Dee Caffari (GBR) (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)