An impeccable victory today for the Spanish team, in the Guangzhou in-port race, completing 4 laps of a windward/leeward course. The crew, skippered by Xabi Fernández, are now at the top of the leaderboard for the Volvo Ocean Race In-port series, and with a five-point advantage.
It proved to be a very fast race indeed. In less than 46 minutes, MAPFRE had claimed an authoritative victory of the In-port race in the waters of Guangzhou, southern China, which was disputed today in the Pearl River, alongside the famous Humen bridge.
Cantabrian sailor Pablo Arrarte was back at the helm of MAPFRE, as per usual in the in-port races, for the start at 15:10 local time (8:10 hora in Spain). The team opted for the mark end, whilst AkzoNobel and Brunel preferred the right. Dongfeng and Scallywag were forced to take penalties for being early over the line, which proved particularly unfortunate for the local team Dongfeng, who became entangled in the anchor line of the start mark, losing valuable time in removing it.
The Spanish team headed straight for the first mark of the course in first place, sailing with 10 knots of wind, and progressively increasing their distance over the rest of the fleet, to eventually establish a firm lead, which they held onto throughout the four laps of the course. Xabi Fernández’s crew were able to read the race course to perfection; with constant shifts and changes in wind intensity from the very beginning, keeping the fleet on their toes and attentive to the slightest alterations and the best areas of pressure.
MAPFRE continued to increase their lead throughout the race, soundly dominating the fleet, with no options for their rivals. The Spanish team, led by the Basque two-time olympic medallist, finally completed the race in just over 45 minutes, with an advantage of one and a half minutes over second-placed Team Brunel, skippered by Bouwe Bekking. Behind them, the podium was completed this time by Simeon Tienpont’s Team AkzoNobel, finishing two and a half minutes after the Spanish.
Sole leaders of the In-Port Race Series
This is the second victory for MAPFRE in the In-Port series of the round-the-world race. Sailing under the flag of the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo, MAPFRE was also first on 14th October in Alicante, and finished second in Lisbon, Cape Town and Hong Kong.
The new triumph in Guangzhou, establishes MAPFRE as sole leaders of the general scoreboard for the In-Port Race Series. MAPFRE had been tied first place at 25 points with the leader, local team Dongfeng. However, today’s victory has broken the tie, and placed Xabi Fernández and his crew once again at the top of the leaderboard with a five-point advantage over Charles Caudrelier’s team in second, and nine points ahead of Team Brunel in third.
Xabi Fernández, skipper
We are really happy with the result, as it was a complicated race. It was a short course, with just four laps, and we were able to start ahead, and keep increasing our lead. We managed to stay in tune with the shifts and current, so we are really happy.
It was obviously a tough day for Dongfeng, who had problems at the start, and were early over the line, forcing them to re-start, and meaning they were forced to try and come back from behind. This victory puts us ahead on the general scoreboard once again for the In-Port Race Series, which of course has relative importance, but it is always better to be in the lead. We will all have good and bad races, and today was a good one for us. We hope it continues.
Joan Vila, navigator
The In-Port Race went really well for us from start to finish, and we are very happy. We managed to get ahead at the start, and were able to hold our position until the end. The fleet were actually very close and there wasn’t any margin for error. We now have to prepare for the next leg to Auckland, which is an important one for us.
Támara Echegoyen, trimmer
Today was a really good race for us; we did a good job from the start, and were leading the whole way through the race. Not only was our boat-handling good, but the team knew how to make the most of every wind variation, and we are really pleased with our result. Now it is time to enjoy it.
There is a very high level in the fleet, and we are all very equal, so even the smallest errors are costly. We have to keep up the hard work, and not stop working, because this is a very long race.
© Maria Muiña I MAPFRE
VOLVO OCEAN RACE PROGRAMME IN GUANGZHOU AND HONG KONG
ProAm Race Guangzhou.
Sunday, 4th feb. 13:00 local time (6:00 in Spain).
Neutral start of the fleet from Guangzhou to Hong Kong.
Monday, 5th feb. 12:30 local (05:30 Spanish time)
Start Hong Kong to Auckland.
Wednesday, 7th feb. 13:00 local time (06:00 Spanish time)