Image © Thierry Martinez/team AkzoNobel
Team AkzoNobel has finished second in the last-but-one Volvo Ocean Race in port race series heat in Sweden after fighting back from a fourth place start over the course of the exciting hour-long sprint on Gothenburg’s Göta älv river.
Danish/American team Vestas 11th Hour Racing took the winning gun ahead of team AkzoNobel, with the Spanish entry Mapfre finishing third to seal overall victory in the 11-stage in port race series.
Today’s second place is team AkzoNobel’s sixth in port race podium finish and elevates the team to third place in the IPR series with just the final heat at The Hague in the Netherlands still to race on June 30.
Inshore helmsman Nicolai Sehested said the result was a satisfying one for the whole crew and especially for him personally.
“We are all happy that we got the right result today that moves us up into a podium position with one race to go,” he said. “We sailed the boat well and there were very few mistakes, which is the key to a good in port race result.”
“I really enjoy the in port racing, particularly around tight inshore courses like here in Gothenburg. There is always plenty going on and – as we saw today – there are usually lots of chances for people to make mistakes which means it is never over until the end.”
After emerging in fourth place from a tightly packed melee of boats on the downwind start, the team AkzoNobel sailors held their position around the first two turning markers before surging into second place on the second downwind section of the course.
The opportunity for the leapfrog move came as initial race leader Team Brunel (NED) and second placed Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG) slowed each other down while battling for the top spot.
Seeing their chance to overtake Vestas 11th Hour Racing and team AkzoNobel both sailed lower courses and at a better angle to the wind, enabling them to slip past into first and second respectively just before the third turn in the five-leg course.
From there to the finish, despite putting Vestas 11th Hour Racing under considerable pressure at times, team AkzoNobel couldn’t find a way past and in the end had to settle for second at the finish line.
With just four days to go to the start of the final offshore leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 on Thursday June 21, the team AkzoNobel sailors must now turn their attention to preparing for the complex 700-nautical mile (1300-kilometer) passage from Gothenburg to The Hague.
The team currently lies in fourth place in the overall Volvo Ocean Race standings and although a top three result is realistically beyond their grasp the sailors all want to finish their campaign in style with a strong performance on the final leg.
“That’s what we are all focused on,” confirmed Sehested. “We will prepare for this last leg as rigorously as any of the others that have come before. It’s a short but complex route with plenty of currents and large wind farms to deal with along the way.
“The Hague is our home port and we will be going all out for a first place, but we will also be making sure we have some fun and enjoy the opportunity to race together as a crew for one final time in this Volvo Ocean Race.”
Team AkzoNobel crew list for Gothenburg in port race
Simeon Tienpont (NED) - skipper
Brad Farrand (NZL)
Justin Ferris (NZL)
Martine Grael (BRA)
Luke Molloy (AUS)
Emily Nagel (BER)
Chris Nicholson (AUS)
Jules Salter (GBR)
Nicolai Sehested (DEN)
Gothenburg in port race results:
1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 7 points
2. team AkzoNobel (NED) – 6 points
3. Mapfre (ESP) – 5 points
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic (UN) – 4 points
5. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG) – 3 points
6. Team Brunel (NED) – 2 points
7. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) – 1 points
In port race series standings (with 10/11 heats completed)
1. Mapfre (ESP) – 61 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) – 50 points
3. team AkzoNobel (NED) – 45 points
4. Team Brunel (NED) – 43 points
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 33 points
6. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG) – 24 points
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (UN) – 21 points