MAPFRE continues as leaders after the Cape Town in-port race
Friday, December 8, 2017 7:07 PM
Just 48 hours ahead of leg three of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, the fleet are already in competition mode. In today’s in-port race in Cape Town, MAPFRE were once again key players in a fabulous come-back, enabling them to clock up another podium position and maintain their leadership of the overall In-Port Series.
The Race Committee sounded the start gun at 14:00 h, right on schedule, with conditions between 20 and 25 knots. Not the best start for Xabi Fernández’s crew, who were penalised just a few minutes prior to the start for manoeuvring too close to Vestas 11th Hour Racing. However, the Spanish boat swiftly made up for lost time and positions, to shorten their distance from the front runners.
From their first leg at the back of the fleet, MAPFRE were able to push the very best out of their boat and performance, benefit from every wind shift and recovered four positions before rounding the second mark. Dongfeng Race Team and Vestas 11th Hour Racing were fighting for first and second place at the front, whilst MAPFRE and Team AkzoNobel were caught in a tough head-to-head, with constant manoeuvres and position changes as they battled for third.
Finally, in the last of the six legs of the windward-leeward race, Xabi Fernández’s crew were able to push ahead of Vestas 11th Hour Racing, and following a problem with the spinnaker for Charlie Enright and his team, MAPFRE crossed the finish line in second place.
Victory this time for Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team, and third place for Team AkzoNobel.
The result in the Cape Town in-port race maintains MAPFRE’s lead at the very top of the general scoreboard for the In-Port Series, with one point advantage over the Chinese team, and six ahead of Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel.
On Saturday 9th December, the teams will have their last day onshore, before Leg three of the Volvo Ocean Race, which starts on Sunday 10th December at 14:00 local time.
IN THEIR WORDS…
Xabi Fernández, Skipper
We had a little problem at the start. It was an incident with Vestas, where we pushed a little too tight to get to the layline, tacked too late and Vestas were forced to move away. We were given a penalty turn, and ended up starting in last place.
The first upwind leg went really well, and we were able to stay close to the pack, even though we were last. We then sailed a great downwind leg, and that was where we joined the fight. We had a good battle with AkzoNobel, and finally due to Vestas’ problem with the spinnaker, were also able to pass them.
Joan Vila, navigator
Good boat handling was key, and having sailed a simple race, we kept making up positions, sailing at our own speed. Together we were able to move up from the back of the fleet to finish in second place.
Pablo Arrarte, watch captain
Starts are always really tight, and today was especially so at the mark end, which was particularly favoured. We thought all the boats would be fighting to start from there, and so perhaps our tack was just a little too tight with Vestas. I think the penalty turn was a fair call. We should have tacked three or four seconds earlier, but as the boat was not moving very fast, it turned much more slowly and provoked the penalty.
We knew it was going to be a long race, with six legs, and with wind conditions like today, a lot of mistakes can be made. We knew that everyone would make some mistakes, so we decided to take it steadily, and just keep improving. Even though we are not used to these kind of races with these boats, they are also important, and it is the boat handling which makes the difference.
In Cape Town, when the wind starts to blow, it is very intense and shifty, making boat handling much more difficult. It also means you have to react very quickly because the wind suddenly changes direction, so any mistakes with boat handling can be really costly. We are handling the boat well, and with Rob and Vila’s decisions, which were almost all spot on, it went really well for us.
IN-PORT RESULTS CAPE TOWN
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN, Charles Caudrelier), 0:57:33
2. MAPFRE (ESP, Xabi Fernández), +2:22
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED, Simeon Tienpont), +2:37
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA/DEN, Charlie Enright), +3:03
5. Turn The Tide on Plastic (United Nations, Dee Caffari), +3:33
6. Team Brunel (NED, Bouwe Bekking), +3:42
7. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG, David Witt), +7:13
GENERAL PROVISIONAL IN-PORT RACE SERIES VOLVO OCEAN RACE 2017-18
1. MAPFRE (ESP, Xabi Fernández), 19 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN, Charles Caudrelier), 18 points
3. Team Brunel (NED, Bouwe Bekking), 13 points
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA/DEN, Charlie Enright), 12 points
5. Team AkzoNobel (NED, Simeon Tienpont), 11 points
6. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG, David Witt), 6 points
7. Turn The Tide on Plastic (United Nations, Dee Caffari), 5 points
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION VOLVO OCEAN RACE 2017-18
1. MAPFRE (ESP, Xabi Fernández), 14 points
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA/DEN, Charlie Enright), 13 points
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN, Charles Caudrelier), 11 points
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED, Simeon Tienpont), 7 points
5. Team Brunel (NED, Bouwe Bekking), 6 points
6. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG, David Witt), 5 points
7. Turn The Tide on Plastic (United Nations, Dee Caffari), 2 points
MAPFRE CREW, CAPE TOWN IN-PORT RACE
Xabi Fernández (ESP)
Joan Vila (ESP)
Pablo Arrarte (ESP)
Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
Louis Sinclair (NZL)
Blair Tuke (NZL)
Willy Altadill (ESP)
Támara Echegoyen (ESP)
Sophie Ciszek (USA/AUS)
Jen Edney (USA). *OBR= on board reporter