You think tomorrow’s Inmarsat In-Port Race in Gothenburg doesn’t really matter, right?
After nine months and nine legs at sea, an hour of inshore racing at the entrance of the Göta älv River doesn’t seem that big a deal.
But for two of the seven teams, that couldn’t be more wrong.
Team Alvimedica and MAPFRE are tied on 34 points for fourth place overall.Tomorrow, they will duel to break the deadlock.
Remember, the Volvo Ocean Race is decided by winning offshore legs – but if there is a tie, it’s the result in the In-Port Series that breaks it.
And with Team Alvimedica currently third in the In-Port Series with 32 points and MAPFRE fifth with 34 points, that fourth place overall is still up for grabs.
“We have to put one boat between us and Alvimedica,” explains Xabi Fernández.
“We will attack. And I expect them to be aggressive, too."Sometimes the best defense is a good attack."
The Spanish giant has a plan in mind.
“If we take a good start and force them to take a bad one, we have more chances to put boats between us,” he says.
“They’ve proven that they’re good in these inshore races, so it’s going to be hard.”
In fact, both teams have won two In-Port Races each – Team Alvimedica in Alicante and Lorient, MAPFRE in Newport and Lisbon.
Xabi is in war mode. Iker Martínez, the skipper of the red boat, will be back from his Olympic training on time tomorrow to join the race, too.
But on Team Alvimedica, it’s a different state of mind.
“It's clear to me now that these guys sail the best when they're relaxed and chilled and not too hung up on anything,” smiles navigator Will Oxley.
“We know how to sail the boat. And if we go out relaxed and perform at the level we know we can, then we will put in a good performance.”
No strategy for the youngest crew in the race then – their age average is 32?
“We got a game plan for tomorrow,” claims Charlie Enright, the skipper, “but it’s mostly reactionary. It’s going to be our last time together on the boat and we’ll try and enjoy.”
Hunter or hunted, that’s the one thing both teams have in common.
“My word to Charlie?”
“Enjoy and have a good, fair race tomorrow."It’s the last one of the Volvo Ocean Race."
Start time: 1300 local time/1100 UTC
Live coverage kicking in 15 minutes before on our website and app - make sure you tune in!