“Telefónica” is currently preparing for tomorrow's in-port regatta in Lisbon (Portugal), a race which may throw up some changes in the overall Volvo Ocean Race standings and where the Spanish boat will be looking to reach the top spots.
From 12:00 UTC (13:00 local time) tomorrow (Saturday), the Volvo Open 70 fleet will hear the starting gun for one single race in which the winner will notch up six very valuable points on the scoreboard, which may be crucial in this round the world challenge which is incredibly tight right now with just three points standing between “Telefónica” and the current lead held by Franck Cammas, after being held for Iker Martínez for the past seven months.
The organisers have planned two possible routes along the Tajo river, both heading for Lisbon, although, as Martínez, skipper on “Telefónica” says: “The Racing Committee will inform us of which start we'll be taking shortly before the race, because we still don't know. There is a slightly longer course that we sailed yesterday. We went downwind and then upwind, twice along the river with some good breeze and it was fairly good. The other course is a lot shorter, more similar to the kind we've been sailing in these races up to now. They are very difficult races where even hoisting or bringing down the spinnaker is relatively complicated”.
It looks very much like this in-port race in Lisbon, which will be raced in the mouth of the River Tajo will feature some strong currents, something which the crew on Team Telefónica agree on unanimously. Sailing in this zone usually implies grappling with big currents, whilst the tide also has a big influence on sailing, because depending on whether it's coming in or going out it pushes the boats one way or the other.
“We've even had three knots of current before, which is a lot, so that's the biggest problem”, says the double Olympic medallist.
There will also be many other factors to consider when it comes to completing in this in-port race, such as the shallow waters in certain parts of the racing area, which Iker Martínez is keeping in mind: “When you're sailing upwind, for example, as we did yesterday, sometimes it's better to hug the coast and when it's shallow that is difficult to do and you don't know exactly how close in you can get. It's very important not to overstep the line”.
“When it's better to be closer to the coast you have to be so careful not to hit the floor, which would be disastrous on an in-port racing day, especially with the offshore leg kicking off the next day”, he adds.
Theresa Zabell, on board “Telefónica”
There will be a very special guest on board “Telefónica” tomorrow: Spanish double Olympic medallist Theresa Zabell (gold in the 470 class in Barcelona 1992 and in Atlanta in 1996) and Vice President of the Spanish Olympic Committee since 2007 as well as President of the Women's Sport Commission for the COE. She is also currently the delegate for International Relations for Madrid's 2020 bid.
For those wishing to follow the in-port race at Lisbon live, it will be broadcast in Spain on the following channels: Teledeporte, Canal+ Sportmanía, Canal 9 Dos and TV3 Esport 3. It can also be followed on the official regatta webpage: www.volvooceanrace.com
XABI FERNÁNDEZ, trimmer.
The in-port will actually be on the river so it will be different the ones we've raced so far, I think. It'll be more similar to the in-port in New Zealand, which was a narrow area, although here there's a lot of current because it is a river, and I emphasise that this will make a big impact on the race. The last few in-ports haven't gone well for us, but I'm sure we can do well in this one.
ANTONIO “ÑETI” CUERVAS-MONS, bowman.
This will be a downwind-upwind race (north-south) in the estuary and then we'll be reaching to the bridge, to just before or after, depending on the wind direction.
It's going to be a fairly tricky in-port because there's a lot of current and some difficult patches with light airs and the area really is very, very, very small for these boats, so it'll be great to watch but for us it'll mean a lot of hard work and it won't be simple.
PEPE RIBES, boat captain.
The in-port at Lisbon will be fairly complicated because it's in the Tajo River, at the mouth. There are two possible courses: one is windward-leeward along the river, which is very short. It's not even 1.7 miles and the manoeuvres will be the most important thing.
The other course, which we sailed in the official training regatta is a course up to the bridge, but only if the winds are westerly. To sum up, manoeuvres will be really important, as will the current. There's a lot of current when the tide is coming in and going out, which changes the way you sail and approach the marks.
Saturday, 9th June
In-port race (12:00 UTC – 13:00 local time)
Sunday, 10th June
Start of Leg 8: Lisbon – Lorient (12:00 UTC – 13:00 local time)
PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS. Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012.
1. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas), 183 points
2. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 180 points
3. Puma powered by Berg (Ken Read), 171 points
4. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), 162 points
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), 104 points
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), 32 points
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