At first light this morning, against the spectacular backdrop of the Tagus River and in a very light wind, Team Brunel crossed the finish line in Lisbon, at 06.09.49 local time (7 a.m. Italian time) after 9 days, 11 hours, 9 minutes and 49 seconds of sailing, winning their second stage victory, after the one obtained in Abu Dhabi. Behind him is Team MAPFRE, just 22 minutes behind. In third was Team Alvimedica, fourth the French-Chinese of Dongfeng, and fifth place for overall leader Abu Dhabi. Last the girls of Team SCA, authors of another (let’s not hide it) somewhat disappointing performance.
This is the last leg with only six boats at the start. Starting with the next leg (Lisbon – Lorient) Team Vestas Wind, which had sensationally beached itself on a reef near Mauritius last November 29 during the second leg, will also be in the mix again. The boat had arrived in poor condition at the Persico shipyard in Nembro, Bergamo: an Italian excellence that accomplished the real feat. Fixing a devastated boat in a few months was truly a titanic task. The boat arrived in Lisbon.
BOLZAN THE WRITER
During the 3,000-mile seventh leg from Newport (Rhode Island) to Lisbon (Portugal), Alberto Bolzan, the only Italian in the round-the-world race aboard Alvimedica got to write a nice piece (which we offer below) in which he takes stock of his Volvo Ocean Race on his return to Europe. An emotionally charged experience, a dream brought to fruition after a long time.
EUROPEAN SAILORS AIM FOR HOME – BY ALBERTO BOLZAN
“Finally the bow to home… I left in October for this regatta, the longest I have ever taken part in, full of expectations and as curious as ever. Now after traveling tens of thousands of miles across the world’s oceans I am crossing the Atlantic to return to Europe, I have seen many new places and had incredible experiences that I will always carry with me, but the feeling of finding customs similar to those I left so many months ago in my homelands excites me. I’m also starting to think that I’m going to see my family, Nicole, friends on a daily basis soon, it’s been a long time….
This is the last ocean leg, we started from Newport where we were the “home boat,” in one of those locations regarded as one of the sailing capitals of the world. We greeted an incredible crowd of supporters, the channel was packed with boats following us for hours through the first few miles of what is known to be one of the most interesting legs of the race. 3000 miles from ‘America to Europe, on board many people leave “home” to return to Europe, but for Seb and me it’s the opposite, we are on shift together and share the emotions of these days hour by hour. There is a sense that there is little time left until the end of this long journey, the standings are wide open, and everyone is giving it their all. What was supposed to be an offshore race made up of great distances and lots of time with no one around has turned into a drawn-out race like never before, we have been sailing for months now enclosed within a few miles, and the distances at the finish line this time as well will be coastal racing. We are again all within a very few miles, all within sight, two days to go with a drop in wind predicted for the entrance to Lisbon, we again expect to finish all in less than an hour, now it’s routine….
We had to get around a big high pressure formed in the middle of the North Atlantic, and now we’re heading for Lisbon, 600 miles to go. After tomorrow I’ll be in Europe again, a great feeling, after eight months now I’m used to what we eat as well, but actually with my house here in front of me my palate is starting to dream of something that is not powdered, for now I’m dreaming of Portuguese cuisine but soon I’ll be back to my tomato sauce!!!
With this one finished there are two more stages to go, short, very intense ones that will decide the final standings, lots of work still to be done but feeling that my home is around the corner makes me calm and gives me that extra push to close the games in the best possible way.
If the regatta ends in a month I will geographically close the round-the-world race in 48 hours, in fact we left these shores in October, and now I am returning with that experience I have always dreamed of having in my drawer, the realization of a dream chased for so long and which I am just now bringing to fruition.
One month to go, it’s time to continue without thinking about dreams but to focus only on the final result and combine the magic of this regatta with the sporting aspect, this makes this competition unique that is not only sailing… I guarantee you…
” At this link the blog