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Volvo Ocean Race: Closing Strong is Sweetest

Published on June 22nd, 2015

Gothenburg, Sweden (June 22, 2015) – Team Alvimedica won their first offshore leg of the Volvo Ocean Race today, leading the hard-fought sprint from The Hague to claim victory in the final leg of the around-the-world marathon into Gothenburg, Sweden.

American skipper Charlie Enright and his young crew are now tied on points in fourth place overall in their first Volvo Ocean Race, which started last October from Alicante, Spain. The overall In-Port Race standings will decide the final race overall standings on Saturday, June 27. Team Alvimedica is currently placed third overall in the In-Port standings with the Spanish team in fifth.

“We made it interesting right down to the final second that’s for sure,” Enright said of the nerve-wracking finish today. Team Alvimedica finished Leg 9 with an elapsed time of 4 days, 9 hours, 00 minutes, 53 seconds.

The 960-nautical mile Leg 9 was split into two parts to Gothenburg with a brief 36-hour “pit stop” in The Hague. Team Alvimedica won the stage from Lorient, France into The Hague, but no points were awarded for that achievement. Instead it provided the young guns a jump of one hour, 46 minutes ahead of the fleet in the staggered start on Saturday June 20.

In a heated battle for the final miles to Gothenburg, second-place Team Brunel boat finished only 23 minutes, 25 seconds behind Team Alvimedica. Dongfeng Race Team finished fourth on the leg behind Mapfre, but it was enough to claim the third podium position for the race overall.

The fleet chased Team Alvimedica hard in the two-plus days since The Hague, with the American-led team not assured of victory until the final approach to the finish line at the mouth of the Göta älv River into Gothenburg. A patchy, light breeze opened up opportunities for the trailing fleet making it impossible to claim victory until crossing the finish line.

Watch Captain Mark Towill said the team’s never-give-up attitude paid off on this final sprint to the finish. “We built up a pretty nice lead coming into The Hague. During the re-start it compressed based on the weather and we always knew there would be a big compression last night off the coast of Denmark. Luckily the breeze filled in from the east a little quicker than we were expecting. We held on and protected our lead to the finish – it was a little bit crazy coming up the river but we are happy to be here with the win.”

“It’s a real testament to our team about how far we’ve come. We started off in Alicante with no real expectation being the underdogs. We proved we can hang with the best and it says a lot about our future in this race,” Towill said.

Team Alvimedica dominated both stages of Leg 9, which started June 16 from Lorient, France. The only team other than Team Vestas Wind not to win one of the nine legs of the 38,739-mile marathon, Team Alvimedica was strongly motivated to add a leg victory to their other accomplishments on their first-ever Volvo Ocean Race.

With Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing essentially assured of the overall win since Lorient, a heated battle continued in Leg 9 for second through fifth place with Team Brunel, Dongfeng Race Team, Mapfre and Team Alvimedica all fighting it out until Gothenburg. While the final podium places now are set in stone after today Leg 9 finish, the final standings for fourth and fifth place overall will be decided after the conclusion of the In-Port Series.

Enright, who also celebrated his two-year wedding anniversary today, gave kudos to his crew for the solid finish after nine months together. “We’re one of the less experienced teams, so we had to be firing on all cylinders if we were going to be a threat to the more experienced guys. I think we showed that we can be and all of that is a testament to the team. We get on really well. We’ve got a week left together. It’s kind of crazy to think about.”

Team Alvimedica race crew for Leg 9: Alberto Bolzan, 33, (ITA); Nick Dana, 29, (Newport, RI, USA); Charlie Enright, 30, (Bristol, RI, USA); Ryan Houston, 32, (NZL); Sebastien Marsset, 30, (Lorient, FRA); Will Oxley, 50, (AUS); Dave Swete, 30, (NZL); Mark Towill, 26, (Kanehoe, HI, USA); and OnBoard Reporter Amory Ross, 30, (Newport, RI, USA).

The final event of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, the 12th edition of the 41-year-old event, will be the Inmarsat In-Port Race Gothenburg on Saturday, June 27, drawing to a conclusion nine months and more than 38,739nm covered, visiting 11 ports and every continent.

Leg 9 (960 nm) Standings
1. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), finished June 22, 04d 09h 00m 53s
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), finished June 22, 04d 09h 24m 18s
3. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), finished June 22, 04d 09h 29m 07s
4. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), finished June 22, 04d 09h 31m 56s
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), finished June 22, 04d 10h 17m 41s
6. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), finished June 22, 04d 11h 30m 21s
7. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), finished June 22, 04d 11h 39m 05s

Overall Standings (after 9 of 9 legs)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), 1-3-2-2-1-2-5-3-5 = 24 points
2. Team Brunel (NED), 3-1-5-5-4-3-1-5-2 = 29
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), 2-2-1-3-8-1-4-7-4 = 33*
4. Team Alvimedica (TUR/USA), 5-4-3-4-3-5-3-6-1 = 34
5. MAPRE (ESP), 7-4-4-1-2-4-2-4-3 = 34*
6. Team SCA (SWE), 6-6-6-6-5-6-6-1-7 = 51*
7. Team Vestas Wind (DNK), 4-8-8-8-8-8-8-2-6 = 60
* scoring penaties
Note: Ties are decided by the results of the In-Port Series.

Race websiteTrackingScoreboardVideos

Photos by Carlo Borlenghi/Volvo Ocean Race

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.

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