08 June 2015: There was much to celebrate at the weekend when Team Vestas Wind re-joined the Volvo Ocean Race in Lisbon on the penultimate leg, with a brand new Volvo Ocean 65 boat in tow.
The crew ran aground in November 2014 in the middle of the Indian Ocean and following a dramatic rescue, relying on Inmarsat’s connectivity throughout, the team were finally able to proudly announce that #BlueisBack in the Portuguese capital, six legs later.
The in port race on 6 June was extremely exciting not only because all seven boats were back together for the first time but due to some excellent sailing, which resulted in a sprint to the finish line and a win for MAPFRE – their second in port race win in a row.
The Spanish team were heavily contested for first place throughout the race by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who narrowly missed out to take second by just two metres, closely followed by Team Alvimedica in third.
Despite losing out on first position, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing continues to maintain its lead on the overall scoreboard. The team is hotly tipped to win the title and with the right results in Leg 8 they could even clinch the trophy on arrival in Lorient – although nearest rivals Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel will be sailing hard to ensure this is not the case.
Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker is keen to downplay talk of a win however: “I’ve seen Admiral’s Cups lost in the dying seconds,” he said. “We’re a long, long way from winning this race. When you start to think you’ve got it won, that’s when you start to lose.
“I prefer not to even look at the scoreboard – these guys (his rival skippers) know they still have plenty of chance to beat us in this race.”
The penultimate 647-nautical mile (nm) stage of the Volvo Ocean Race is the shortest of all nine yet no less challenging, with weather forecasts predicting winds of over 30 knots.
The fleet is expected to arrive in Lorient early on Thursday 11 June, where they will have a short maintenance period before setting off for the final leg to Gothenburg via a pit stop in The Hague on 16 June.
The event finishes with an in port race in Gothenburg in 27 June when the boats will have covered 38,739 nm and visited 11 cities and every continent.
Throughout the adventure the crews have relied on Inmarsat’s connectivity for race logistics, weather forecasts and safety services. In addition, each Onboard Reporter (OBR) uses our flagship FleetBroadband service to send photos, videos and blogs back from the boats to share with an onshore audience of millions.
Inmarsat is again recognising the important and challenging role of capturing the spirit of the Volvo Ocean Race with the Onboard Reporter Awards in Gothenburg.
An expert panel of media judges, chaired by Inmarsat, will review content from each OBR during the entire race and select an overall winner who will receive €20,000 and runner-up prizes of €8,000 each.
For more details and news from the boats go to www.inmarsat.com/vor.