Rally in River Tagus lifts Alvimedica to podium
Published on May 27th, 2015
Lisbon, Portugal (May 27, 2015) – In a stunning overnight comeback, Team Alvimedica (USA/TUR) worked their way through the River Tagus, and through the fleet, to move from fifth to a third place finish in Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race that started in the team’s homeport of Newport, RI 10 days ago.
The podium finish was not without doubt, however, as Alivmedica had to endure one final intense tacking duel to finish a mere 55 seconds ahead of Dongfeng Race Team. “We have been awake for the last 24 hours so it’s still settling in,” said Skipper Charlie Enright (USA) of the close finish. “No one gave up and we kept ourselves in touch so that we could make a play in the end.”
While an overall podium finish seemed to slipping away last night with Team Alvimedica in fifth place behind overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in fourth and Dongfeng Race Team in third, the Team Alvimedica crew tapped into their local knowledge of Lisbon to play the important land breeze as the sun rose on the Bay of Cascais this morning. The team trained for a month in Lisbon one year ago, providing the young guns some insights to local conditions.
“It feels good to be back in Lisbon,” Enright said at the skippers’ press conference. “This is kind of where we started the whole thing. Who knew that a little bit of local knowledge might end up paying off in the end. We knew that it would go light and when we parked, we knew we wanted to be close to shore. It would have been nice to fetch up the river, but instead we engaged in an excruciating 20-tack duel with Dongfeng. I told Charles (Caudrelier) it looked like a knife fight with spoons. But we were fortunate enough to grind it out in the end and had a good result.”
Before Team Alvimedica crossed the finish in third place to complete the podium, Team Brunel and Mapfre finished first and second into Lisbon with only 21 minutes separating the two teams. Team Alvimedica’s elapsed time for the 2,800 nautical-mile Leg 7 was 9 days, 12 hours, 50 minutes, 49 seconds.
Team co-founder and watch captain Mark Towill (USA) said some of that local knowledge came into play as well as pre-leg preparation. “Training here a year ago was a big part of it. We also did a lot of pre-leg preparation for the final 30 miles of the race and it all came down to that. It was a big credit to Will (Oxley, AUS) and the navigation team for the pre-race work. It was quite a grind off and a physical challenge in the last few miles. It was a huge credit to the guys on the boat-handling.”
The seventh leg, from Newport, USA to Lisbon, Portugal (2,800 nm), began May 17. The penultimate leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Lisbon, Portugal to Lorient, France (647 nm) will start on June 7 with an ETA between June 9 and 12.
Team Alvimedica race crew for Leg 7: Alberto Bolzan, 33, (ITA); Nick Dana, 29, (Newport, RI, USA); Charlie Enright, 30, (Bristol, RI, USA); Ryan Houston, 32, (NZL); Sebastien Marsset, 30, (FRA); Will Oxley, 50, (AUS); Dave Swete, 30, (NZL); Mark Towill, 26, (Kanehoe, HI, USA); and OnBoard Reporter Amory Ross, 30, (Newport, RI, USA).
Background: 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.