MAPFRE tops Itajaí In-Port Race
Published on April 20th, 2018
Itajaí, Brazil (April 20, 2018) – The Spanish team MAPFRE won the Itajaí In-Port Race today after battling with team AkzoNobel for the lead on the first of three laps of the race course.
After taking the lead on the first downwind leg in a moderate 10 knot sea breeze, MAPFRE protected well the rest of the way.
The win allows skipper Xabi Fernández and his team to extend their advantage in the In-Port Race Series over Dongfeng Race Team who finished in third place.
“It was a good race for us today, right from the start, but the key for us was being able to pass AkzoNobel on the first downwind,” Fernández said. “From there we could stretch.
“Being the series leader is always good. We know how tight the overall race leaderboard is where we’re just one point behind Dongfeng, so this could be important at the end of the race and for that we are happy today.”
AkzoNobel was a close second place which secures their third place position on the series leaderboard.
“When we looked at the conditions and the race course today we knew the start would be critical and we had a very good start with pace,” skipper Simeon Tienpont said. “But MAPFRE did a really good job. We were waiting for them to make a mistake but they did the best race today and we’re very happy with second place.”
Dongfeng Race Team was also content with a podium result.
“We didn’t have a good start but we were able to use the mistakes of the others to get back near the leaders,” skipper Charles Caudrelier said. “We sailed the rest of the race well but there was not so much opportunity.”
Turn the Tide on Plastic scored their best finish of the series with a fourth place result and has moved off the bottom of the series leaderboard.
Brunel had a promising start but was undone by a sail handling error at the top mark, which dropped them from challenging for the lead to battling with Vestas 11th Hour Racing at the back of the fleet.
After only arriving in Itajaí yesterday, Team SHK/Scallywag didn’t take the start, with the boat still out of the water being prepared to take the start of Leg 8 on April 22. It’s a race against the clock to get the boat ready in time.
Earlier, at the skippers’ press conference, Scallywag’s David Witt spoke poignantly about the loss of his friend and teammate John Fisher:
“We started together 12 years ago and he was always the first guy picked… the biggest compliment I could give John is that he was the best team player I’ve ever seen. He put everyone else first.
“For me, he was my best mate. Sunday (the start of Leg 8) will be a bit weird – it will be the first time I’ve gone to sea without him in 12 years…
“But we’ve had amazing support from within the Volvo Ocean Race family. The character of the people in this race has been exemplified by the way we’ve been supported by the other competitors in this race… I’m sure John would be very proud about that.
“The best thing we can do in John’s memory is get on with the job on Sunday… If he was standing behind be right now he’d be telling me to harden up and get on with it and that’s what we’re going to do on Sunday.”
The 5,100 nm Leg 8 from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA starts on April 22.
Itajaí In-Port Race Results
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 7 points
2. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 6
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 5
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 4
5. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 3
6. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 2
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), Did Not Start
Overall In-Port Race Results (after 7 of 11 races)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 44 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 39
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 33
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 29
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 18
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 15
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 15
COURSE: Starting on April 22, Leg 8 takes the teams from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA. Race organizers choose to estimate the tactical distance for each leg rather than list the actual distance, an unusual decision that’s revealed once the race starts and the tracker lists the actual distance to finish. The VOR says Leg 8 is 5700 nm whereas the truth is more like 5100 nm.
2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
• Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
• Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
• MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
• Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
• Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
• Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
• Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)
Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.
Source: Volvo Ocean Race