IWC’S ABU DHABI TEAM WINS VOLVO OCEAN RACE OPENER

Photos — Volvo Ocean Race Date — 31 October, 2011

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IWC’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing delivered an early blow to their rivals picking up the first points of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 with an outstanding win in the inaugural in-port race.

The crew, led by British skipper and double Olympic silver medalist Ian Walker, charged in with a14-minute win over their closest rivals in the Iberdrola In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain. The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG were second, ahead of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in third. Team Sanya edged Groupama sailing team for fourth, with Team Telefónica coming home sixth.

“It’s a great win, I feel fantastic,” said Walker. “It’s a great start for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. I don’t think it means too much but I said before we left the dock that whoever wins today’s race can go home with a spring in their step and look forward to the week ahead.”

The in-port race marked the start of the epic 39,000 nautical mile round the world race, tipped to be the most hotly contested edition in the event´s 38-year history. And after opening their account with a crucial win, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will go into the first offshore leg with a maximum six points and a psychological advantage.

The six teams now have one week to make the final tweaks to their yachts before they set off from Alicante bound for Cape Town, South Africa, the first of nine offshore legs. Leg one starts at 1300 UTC (1400 local time) on November 5 and is expected to take around 21 days to complete. In-port races will take place in all 10 Host Ports around the world, testing the crews’ skills at close-quarters tactics. More than 20 percent of all points are up for grabs in the in-port racing, which could prove vital when overall positions are decided. The races also provide a show for the millions of people who will watch the race worldwide. Watch this space as we continue to update regularly on the IWC’s Volvo Ocean Racing Team’s progress in this ultimate sailing challenge.

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