SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Victory for Team Alvimedica, Glory for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
- Fifth place into Gothenburg enough to confirm 12th edition title for Emirati boat
- Team Alvimedica's ninth leg victory ensures six out of seven boats are triumphant in a stage
- Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team complete overall podium finishers
GOTHENBURG, Sweden, June 22 – Team Alvimedica's skipper Charlie Enright won the final offshore battle of the Volvo Ocean Race here today, but the overall trophy belonged firmly with his rival from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker.
The Turkish/American boat led the tightly packed fleet home to crowded docks in the final stopover in Gothenburg, Sweden, to bring to a close 38,739 nautical miles (nm) and nine months of some of the closest racing ever witnessed in the 41-year-old offshore marathon.
The Team Alvimedica victory underlined, once more, the incredibly close nature of competition in the first event raced with strictly one-design Volvo Ocean 65 boats.
Only one team, Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS), have failed to win a leg – and they missed five because of a boat rebuild.
Behind Enright, in fifth, Walker's boat, Azzam, slipped almost quietly into port, but the mile-wide smiles on all the crews' faces told their own story: We are the Champions! It seals one of the greatest global sporting triumphs for the Gulf region and makes Walker the first British skipper to win the overall trophy.
Leg 9 was the last and in many ways most exciting of all the stages since the fleet set out on October 11 from Alicante, Spain, full of hopes and expectations.
Lighter breezes and a front last night compressed the fleet following their departure from the Dutch port on Saturday. Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) was forced to relinquish their hoped-for second place in the leg to Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), whose finish secured the runners-up spot in the overall standings.
Despite not being able to hold off Spanish challengers, MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), for third position, Charles Caudrelier's crew still took the final place on the podium in third place overall - an incredible result with four Chinese rookie sailors in their ranks.
Fourth place overall, though, will have to be decided in the final act of the 2014-15 edition, Saturday's (June 27) Inmarsat In-Port Race Gothenburg, when Team Alvimedica and MAPFRE, tied on 34 points, will duel to break the deadlock.
Following in behind the champions, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, sixth-placed Team Vestas Wind had their own cause for celebration in finishing a race that they looked irrevocably out of, having collided with an Indian Ocean reef in Leg 2 last November. Their sponsors, crew and shore team never gave up hope of returning, however, and the second-placed finish of the blue Danish boat in Leg 8 to Lorient from Lisbon, will remain one of the 12th edition's most cherished memories.
Finally, the all-women's crew of Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) completed the fleet's arrivals in Gothenburg. As ever, they were competitive and right on the heels of their male rivals. They had, however, already made their point in what has been the sole preserve of male sailing since 2001-02. Their victory in Lorient in the leg from Lisbon proved that women can be – and are – competitive in the world's toughest offshore sailing event. With the huge following that Sam Davies's team attracted and their legacy of leg-by-leg improvements, we surely will not have to wait another 12 years for another female crew to take their place in a Volvo Ocean Race fleet.
LEG 9 RESULTS
1. Team Alvimedica (USA/TUR) - 22/06/2015 - 10h26mn52s UTC - 4 days 09h 00mn 53s
2. Team Brunel (NED) - 22/06/2015 - 10h50mn17s UTC - 4 days 09h 24mn 18s
3. MAPFRE (ESP) - 22/06/2015 - 10h55mn06s UTC - 4 days 09h 29ms 07s
4. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) - 22/06/2015 - 10h57mn55s UTC - 4 days 09h 31mn 56s
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE) - 22/06/2015 - 11h43mn40s UTC - 4 days 10h 17mn 41s
6. Team Vestas Wind (DEN) - 22/06/2015 - 12h56mn20s UTC - 4 days 11h 30min 21s
7. Tean SCA (SWE) - 22/06/2015 - 13h05mn04s - 4 days 11h 39mn 05s
VOLVO OCEAN RACE OVERALL RANKING
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE) - 24pts
2. Team Brunel (NED) - 29pts
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) - 33pts
4. Team Alvimedica (USA/TUR) - 34pts*
5. MAPFRE (ESP) - 34pts*
6. Team SCA (SWE) - 51pts
7. Team Vestas Wind (DEN) - 60pts
* tiebreak determined by In-Port Race standings
^ final in-port race on June 27