LISBON – Bouwe Bekking's (NED) Dutch-flagged Team Brunel successfully fended off a late charge by the Spanish team MAPFRE to win the Lisbon In-Port Race today by eight seconds. The finish line was shrouded in rain and fog, so much so that lead announcer Andy Green (GBR), our former AC colleague and longtime friend doing the Facebook Live commentary, couldn't be sure when either of the top two yachts had finished in the blustery 20-knot conditions.
Watch a replay of today's race on the VOR Facebook page here.
Needless to say, Mr Bekking, whose team finished Leg 1 (Alicante-Lisbon) 6th in the seven-boat fleet, was pleased with today's result. According to the post-race VOR media release:
“I think we did well, we’ve made huge steps as a team,” Bekking said following the race. “I mean it’s always nice to win but I think we sailed pretty nicely today. There was a huge wind shift at the end and that always makes the decisions tricky but I think we made the right calls. We sailed very conservative - as you will have seen we kept our big sail up, kept it simple and that worked very well for us today.”
Charlie Enright's (USA) Vestas 11th Hour Racing finished a disappointing 5th. They were penalized by the umpires at the gate at the end of Leg 2 for forcing an inside overlap on AkzoNobel. After completing the penalty circle, they were DFL (sailor talk for dead last) at Gate 3. During the next four legs they did manage to claw back two places thanks to good boatspeed, despite a 30-degree windshift that skewed the course and all but eliminated tactical opportunities to pass on the short (.75nm) legs.
The VOR In-Port races are more by way of exhibition sailing for the edification of spectators and VIP guests of the sponsors and race organizers, as well as bragging rights for the teams. However, the cumulative scores of all In-Port races will be used to rank the teams and break ties, if any, at the end of the eleven-leg series that comprise the Europe-to-Europe, west-to-east lap around the planet.
Team Brunel held off MAPFRE on the final rain-swept leg to win today's Lisbon In-Port Race. You have to give high marks to MAPFRE who were dead last at the end of Leg 2, and still almost managed to win the race with good tactics and excellent boat speed.
The start of today's Lisbon In-Port Race, courtesy of VOR media. Winner Team Brunel had a good start in the middle of the line. Vestas was pinned to leeward of MAPFRE. To the right is Portugal's training tall-ship the NRP SAGRES.