VOR In-Port Race: Kings of Cape Town

Published on November 15th, 2014

Cape Town, South Africa (November 15, 2014) – The marathon front-runners sure can sprint as well. Ian Walker’s offshore leaders proved to the rest of the seven-strong fleet that they are currently masters closer to land too, winning the Cape Town In-Port race on Saturday after yet another thrilling finish.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing already led the hunt for the Volvo trophy after claiming victory in Leg 1 last week and now they are looking to be serious contenders for the in-shore series silverware.

The fleet was split from the start in challenging conditions in Table Bay, under the famous Table Mountain, with winds veering dramatically between 12 and 20 knots and rain clouds threatening throughout. Ian opted for a port line early in the sprint for the first mark and it paid immediate dividends as they and Team SCA raced clear.

The team from the Emirates have already shown they can make the right decisions under the toughest of pressure. They edged out Dongfeng Race Team by just 12 minutes in a thrilling Leg 1 climax last week, after 25 days of sailing from Alicante to Cape Town.

After some 20 minutes of racing on Saturday, they already looked like they had the points in the bag, especially after one of the rivals for the in-port series prize, Team Alvimedica, suffered a tear in their jib. Charlie Enright’s team had triumphed in the opening in-port race in Alicante back on October 4 but this victory puts Abu Dhabi now back on top of the points table with three (lowest is best).

The battle for second place soon grabbed the attention of most with Team SCA and Team Brunel in a rare old shootout after the Dutch found a burst of pressure midway round.

Brunel’s skipper Bouwe Bekking told a press conference on Friday that the in-port series was not a big priority for him. Ha! Yeah right. He and his crew were plainly giving it 110 percent as they scrambled with Team SCA for the second rung of the podium.

But these women are very, very determined and as their skipper Sam Davies explained on Friday, strong winds certainly don’t scare them after they did most of their pre-race training in similar conditions in Lanzarote.

A problem with a gennaker failing to unfurl cleanly finally scuppered their efforts to keep Bouwe and company at bay and Brunel made one final effort to catch Abu Dhabi up front. Once again, Ian was ready for the challenge and by the finish line had a winning margin of a couple of hundred meters from Brunel with the girls in third.

Dongfeng raced home ahead of Team Vestas Wind and Team Alvimedica with MAPFRE, last coming into Cape Town in Leg 1, again bringing up the rear. The Spanish crew, unlike most of us, will be glad to farewell Table Mountain. For the Azzam crew, they would be glad to do the rest of their sailing in this sailing-crazy city.

“Cape Town can be like that when the wind comes round Table Mountain. We had really good crew work today, I was out of breath just watching them,” said Ian. “We just tried to do the right thing and our navigator, Simon Fisher, did a good job controlling the race. Two down, plenty more to go.”

Click here for the In-Port Race crew lists.

Check out the scoreboard here.

Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began Leg 1 on October 11, which took the 7 teams 6478nm from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, 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. Final finish on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Race website: http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/home.html

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