NAUTIC OCEAN WITNESSED START OF FIRST IN-PORT RACE

We just couldn’t miss out on the opportunity! Over the past few months, we’ve really enjoyed watching the daily practice outings of two of the seven boats that now are about to set sail from Alicante on 11th October on an epic voyage around the world.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, both Team Brunel and the all-female Team SCA chose Lanzarote to test out their VORs. What’s more, it wasn’t an uncommon sight to see the crews taking some time out at Bar One after a tough day out at sea. Ocean Race.

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We arrived in Alicante on Friday around midday. After dropping off our cases at a nearby hotel, we headed straight off to the Village. The day couldn’t have been better, with the city basking in a wonderful autumnal sun.

Once at the port of Alicante, we immediately spotted the VORs out on the water as they were taking part in the PRO AM Regatta. From shoreside, we could make out the huge brightly-coloured sails of these magnificent VOR 65 boats. Meanwhile, the Village was buzzing with excitement about the ocean race to beat all other ocean races.

We liked…

  • The Volvo Ocean Race Museum, with guided tours in English and Spanish of around 15 minutes showcasing previous races and how the event and route have developed over the years.
  • Another Day at the Office, a fascinating real-time documentary showing the ins-and-outs of the race.
  • The two open-air stages for daily concerts held at the Village.
  • Entrance is free, as are the main activities featured on the Programme. Everything is geared towards visitors enjoying the boats close up, as well as seeing the crews and the dozens of race technicians mulling around. If your idea is to learn a bit more about the world of ocean racing at first hand, then this is your place.
  • The merchandising of the Race and the teams is really eye-catching. Fashion has also reached the sea this year thanks to Musto, although their prices are still a bit exaggerated, as we didn’t see many shopping bags during our two days at the Village.
  • We loved the Crew Parade set to music chosen individually by each team, who then boarded their boats prior to the In-Port Race.

We later heard that the Volvo Ocean Race chairman, Knut Frostad, had said that “this is the best Race Village in the history of the event”. Here in Spain we definitely know how to stage a good event!

On the Saturday, after visiting the seven teams and seeing their preparations, we headed off to the Crew Parade at 11.30am. Then we boarded the 19-metre Gran Jotiti, who was berthed alongside the quay ready for us to set sail. Waiting for us were Lorenzo and his skipper “El Pecas”, now famous nationwide for their TV2 programme every Sunday at 3.00pm, España a vela, and who we had shared many a good moment with when we crossed the Atlantic in the 2012 edition of the Gran Prix del Atlantico.

Gran Jotiti is a regular in Lanzarote and when we found out she was going to be in Alicante, we jumped at the idea of chasing the fleet during this first eligible race. After the air display led by Patrulla Águila, we hoisted sails and enjoyed the speed of this beautiful sailboat as she followed the Playa del Postiguet. With the main and genoa raised, we did some longer runs just before the In-Port Race was due to start.

Between runs, we were lucky enough to share the deck with Maria José San Román, owner and head chef at Restaurante Monastrell, which since November 2013 has been a Michelin-star restaurant. If I tell you that the onboard catering was courtesy of Maria José, you can imagine how much we enjoyed one of our favorite pairings: sailing and gastronomy.

Shortly after, the race started and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The seven Volvo Ocean 65s skimmed across the water in a 13-14 knot southerly wind on a three-mark windward-leeward course, with each stretch covering 1.3 miles.

We were fortunate to see the VOR 65s really close up, and with “Pecas” as skipper many of the crews greeted us from their boats. No surprise really, seeing as he’s taken part in seven Atlantic crossing and won two of them. He has also been champion in the 2004 Spanish Match Race, the 2002 IMS 500 Championships and the 2012 GP42 Circuit, as well as competing in the 2011 Volvo Ocean Race and three America’s Cups.

The day ended with a prize-giving ceremony and one Spanish team on the podium:

  1. Alvimedica 14:52:02                    1pt
  2. ADOR 14:52:07                            2pts
  3. MAPFRE 14:52:27                       3pts
  4. Team Brunel 14:52:48                4pts
  5. Dongfeng 14:53:14                       5pts
  6. Team SCA 14:53:51                      6pts
  7. Team Vestas Wind 14:55:24       7pts

 Activities at the Village will run until 11th October, the start date of this enthralling extreme ocean race.

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