Friday, 8 June 2012

Lisbon in-port race will be like a naval battle

Camper during the practice race in Lisbon
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
I have just climbed out of a hot and humid commentary booth, having covered the Pro-Am race with TV NZ’s Martin Tasker.

The city of Lisbon is putting on a wonderful display. The sun was shining, the wind was up and the crowds poured into the race village to see the action just off the end of the dock.

Today’s racing was just for fun and the bragging rights of the lucky guests and sponsors who got to sail on board.

Naval battle
Tomorrow, Lisbon will host the real deal. The Oeiras in-port race will start at 1300 local (1200 UTC). With only 21 points separating the top four boats, the one-hour race will be more like a naval battle then a sailboat race.

The forecasted conditions look good for aggressive combat, with the 12-15 knot WSW wind blowing across Lisbon’s Tagus River. The river’s current will also come into play.

Today we saw a current of more than two knots sweeping up the estuary. The course will consist of some short windward leeward legs, with lots of boat manoeuvres, and then a longer dash up the river towards the city.

Keeping cool
Tonight the teams will be discussing their tactics. The mood that they race in will play a big part at the start. Hanging back and keeping cool may result in missed opportunities. Charging in, all guns firing, could result in forced errors.

Telephonica have lost two in-port races by sailing the wrong course in Atajai and also hitting a mark in Miami.

With only three in-ports left the race for the overall king is even closer then the race itself. Puma, Camper and Abu Dhabi are all tied for the lead on 30 points each.

I will be donning headphones and microphone again for tomorrow’s race, but this time from a camera boat out on the water. I join the commentary team who are also keen to have my insight on the role of the MCM and how the Inmarsat communications work onboard.

Tune in on the web to watch and hear the race live on

Mark Covell

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