The first official racing of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race will take place on Saturday afternoon with the MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante, marking the first point-scoring competition of the event.
The starting gun will fire at 14:00 local time (12:00 UTC) with seven of the best sailing teams in the world pushing hard to lay down a marker in the first competitive confrontation with points on the table.
“You always go out and want to win,” said Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Team Brunel, who will have Alberto (Albi) Bolzan on the helm for the race. “He’s an excellent helmsman. He has a lot of hours driving these boats but he’s also one of the smaller guys on board and it’s important to have power on the winches for these in-port races.”
“I think the most important thing for the in-port race is to treat it as practice for the race start for the offshore leg,” said Charles Caudrelier, speaking from experience after starting behind the fleet on the Prologue leg. “Even on the long legs, the start is important… it helps the team to be confident to get the lead early.”
“A lot of the sailors on our team come from short course racing,” said Dee Caffari the skipper on Turn the Tide on Plastic. “So they get a real buzz out of this. They’re all over this style of racing. I have to remind them that a Volvo Ocean 65 takes a bit longer to manoeuvre and we can’t go as close to the other boats as they’re used to, so I have to manage expectations a bit!”
The MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante is two laps of a windward-leeward course, set with a target time of 45-minutes. The start time is 14:00 local time, and conditions are forecast to be ideal. During the morning there will be a light northerly wind, but from noon, it will start to turn to the east and strengthen to a solid 10 knots down the race course.
The race course for the MAPFRE In-Port Race is set up with a gate system, with two top (windward) marks and two bottom (leeward) marks. The racing yachts must go between the two buoys at each end but are then free to turn either left or right, increasing the tactical options and opportunities for passing.
In Friday’s practice session, MAPFRE took the win over Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, who impressed with their best showing, and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, who took third place, completing the podium.
The race begins at 1200 UTC on Saturday 14 October.
Here’s how to follow the three-lap, one hour sprint around the bay of Alicante:
Watch it on the website
Head to www.volvooceanrace.com to catch a live stream of the action.
Check out Facebook Live
We’ll go live at 1350 local time (1150 UTC).
Join us on our live blog
We’ll be blogging all the moves and news from the racetrack on our live blog, including the best of clips and social content. You can find it at www.volvooceanrace.com
Make sure you follow us on Twitter
We’re at @volvoooceanrace… and we’ll be live tweeting the action, as well as sharing the best content from the teams, stakeholders and fans on our feed.
Download the app
It’s all-new, full of great content and fits on your mobile phone. Why wouldn’t you want the official Volvo Ocean Race app? Head to the App Store or Google Play to download it. It’s called Volvo Ocean Race.
Come down to the Race Village
Based in the City of Alicante, we’ve built the biggest Race Village site the host city has ever seen – and it’s jam-packed full of interactive elements, innovative structures and loads of exciting things to do.
Head to a prime vantage point
Join the thousands of spectators on Postiguet Beach to see the boats in action, or line the sea wall for a front row seat. If you’re feeling fit, why not hike up the castle for the best view in the city?
WHY? It is a little known fact that Port Elizabeth has been approached TWICE to bid on becoming a stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race – the first attempt was stopped by our local Port Authorities and we await the outcome of the second. The home of Volvo Cars is Gothenburg – the second-largest city in Sweden which is twinned with Nelson Mandela Bay and which has provided incredible support and promotion for our Metropole. MyPE is running a series of articles about the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race to 1. Acknowledge and thank Gothenburg for their support, 2. Showcase a sport that Alan Straton is passionate about, 3. Demonstrate to citizens of Port Elizabeth just how much exposure a city like Cape Town receives from the VOR and 4. As a gentle reminder to the TNPA and our city of the great value that such an event can bring to our city. The start city of the VOR – Alicante, Spain – estimates the economic value of each leg to be R960 Million.