It's a breeze for Team SCA

Text by Jon Bramley
Pictures by Ainhoa Sanchez
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It's a breeze for Team SCA Text by Jon Bramley
Pictures by Ainhoa Sanchez
 
It was more of a day for lying in the sun than sailing but Team SCA revelled in the light wind conditions to take a much relished victory in the Abu Dhabi In-Port Race on Friday.

"It's really good for us," smiled skipper Sam Davies. "We said we had to do what we did on the practice race and we did exactly that, so we're happy.

"We've done only first places since we got here in Abu Dhabi so it's a great way to boost the whole crew morale before we leave tomorrow for Sanya."

The victory will be all the sweeter for the women who were missing their powerful bowman Sophie Ciszek because of a back injury, which will also keep her out of Leg 3 starting on Saturday.

The packed race village and a flotilla of dozens of spectator boats were kept waiting for an hour and 40 minutes as the lack of a decent breeze prevented a prompt start.

Finally, at 1540 local time (1150 UTC) the six-strong fleet minus Team Vestas Wind, were able to set sail for a curtailed race of 3.2 nautical miles.

The women’s crew of Team SCA, struggling so far in the offshore legs but clearly up to pace in the in-port series, nearly overshot the start line but soon found what little pressure was around on the starboard side of the course.

They opened up a lead of some 50 metres to the first top mark and continued to build on that, with Carolijn Brouwer  at the helm rather than skipper Sam Davies, as the race wore on.

Team Brunel, Leg 2 victors here last month, led the chasing pack but never looked like spoiling the party for Team SCA.

As they crossed the line, you could hear the whoops of joy from the SCA spectator boat and dock crowd and high fives all round from the crew.

Ciszek, who watched the race from the deck of the SCA pavilion in the race village, said: "It was frustrating because I wasn't out on the boat but, wow, it was the best thing ever because they won the race.

"It can only get better, and we're one step closer. They did really well.

"There's been some big changes, we had a big debrief, it's really good to turn it around and win the in-port."

Abu Dhabi In-Port Race result:

1 Team SCA (Sweden),
2 Team Brunel (Netherlands)
3 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
4 Dongfeng Race Team (China)
5 Team Alvimedica (Turkey/USA)
6 MAPFRE (Spain)