Abu Dhabi finish third at Newport to reclaim top spot of Volvo Ocean Race in-port standings

Spanish boat Mapfre, boosted by the return of their skipper Iker Martinez, claimed their first win of the Volvo Ocean Race in-port series on Saturday in front of thousands of spectators.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew don Boston Bruins jerseys alongside Bruins player Zdeno Chára, who joined the crew during the in-port race. Photo courtesy: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew don Boston Bruins jerseys alongside Bruins player Zdeno Chára, who joined the crew during the in-port race. Photo courtesy: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Spanish boat Mapfre, boosted by the return of their skipper Iker Martinez, claimed their first win of the Volvo Ocean Race in-port series on Saturday in front of thousands of spectators.

In a day of light winds and overcast skies, the start was all-important and Mapfre were away to a beauty on the 9.2-nautical mile (17-kilometre) course.

With Martinez at the helm, the red boat raced to the first mark with a narrow lead over Team Alvimedica (Turkey/US) and gradually stretched their advantage in a race completed in just under an hour.

The result leaves the Spanish crew still trailing the fleet in the overall standings on 31 points, but they have closed the gap considerably after a string of largely disappointing performances prior to Saturday.

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Martinez, 37, was delighted to return to the winner’s circle having returned to lead the crew after missing the previous leg due to Olympic commitments.

The helmsman from San Sebastian won gold in the 2004 Athens Games and silver in Beijing 2008, but finished disappointingly down the field in the 2012 London Olympics.

He is determined to put that right in Rio de Janeiro next year, but his commitment to his preparation has led to his missing several legs in this edition of the nine-month Ocean Race which started last October.

“We are improving slowly and that’s the way we want to do these things,” said Martinez after the victory. “Today we were first and we’re feeling super good.”

Team Alvimedica, led by Newport local Charlie Enright, clung on to second place while Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing stole third position from the all-women crew of Team SCA, who made a damaging positioning error mid-race.

The result puts Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, led by Briton Ian Walker, back on top of the overall in-port race series standings on 19 points. The series will count towards a separate trophy and be used to split ties in the main offshore competition.

The six boats in the fleet will begin the seventh leg, a 2,800-nautical mile (4,815km) trip to Lisbon, Portugal, on Sunday at 10pm (UAE time).

Abu Dhabi lead by six points from China’s Dongfeng Race Team, with three legs to complete in the nine-month, 38,739-nautical mile (71,745km) marathon.

The race concludes on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden, having visited 11 ports and every continent.

Newport Team Vestas Wind In-Port Race results:

1. Mapfre (Spain) 14:55:41 (1pt)

2. Team Alvimedica (Turkey/USA) 14:56:39 (2)

3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 14:57:38 (3)

4. Team SCA (Sweden) 14:57:57 (4)

5. Team Brunel (Netherlands) 14:58:17 (5)

6. Dongfeng Race Team (China) 14:59:09 (6)

DNS Team Vestas Wind (Denmark) (8).

In-Port Race Series overall standings (after seven races):

1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 19pts

2. Team Brunel 20

3. Team SCA 24

4. Dongfeng Race Team 27

5. Team Alvimedica 28

6. MAPFRE 31

7. Team Vestas Wind 52

Published: May 17, 2015 04:00 AM

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