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Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing remains top of In-Port Race leaderboard despite sixth place finish in Auckland

posted on 16/03/2015: 1502 views

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, ADOR, maintained its lead in the round-the-world race's ‘short-course' series, despite having to settle for sixth place in yesterday's New Zealand Herald In-Port Race in Auckland.

Despite having Kiwi rugby hero Jonah Lomu aboard as celebrity guest for the sixty-minute race in Auckland Harbour, an unexpected windshift just minutes after the start left ADOR at the back of the pack early on.

The result, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority-backed team's first non-podium result in the race so far, sees it tied on points at the top of the leaderboard with Dutch crew, Team Brunel, but leading the In-Port Series on count-back. Swedish all-female crew, Team SCA, became the first team to win two races when they capitalised on their first leg lead to take victory.

Despite the early windshift leaving ADOR's yacht Azzam at the back of the fleet just a few minutes into the race, the crew, led by double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, immediately set about clawing their way back into contention. But the course, which took the fleet under the Auckland Harbour Bridge twice, offered few chances to overtake, meaning a podium place was never on the cards.

ADOR had to settle for giving Turkish/American Team Alvimedica a scare when they almost overtook them on the finish line, missing out on claiming fifth by just one second.

ADOR skipper Walker was philosophical about the team's result. "At the start, there were two winds fighting to establish themselves and we had to choose which one we thought would win," he said. "As it turned out, we backed the wrong horse in the end, but that's just sailing – it happens sometimes. The course meant there weren't any passing lanes so it was hard to put together a comeback."

After taking a turn at Azzam's wheel before the race, and then getting a close up view of the Azzam crew in action from his vantage point in the stern, celebrity guest Lomu said he was hugely impressed with the level of skill, strength and stamina shown by the ADOR sailors.

"Even though the winds didn't go their way today, they never let their heads down once and that's the sign of a solid team," Lomu said. "Having seen how Azzam performs in today's lightish breezes, I can only imagine how fast she must be in the open ocean. Being on-board today has given me a newfound respect for what these guys do. It's been an experience I will always cherish." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –


06 July 2016 Volvo Ocean Race reveals route for next year’s race, and it is the longest yet
13 November 2015 National Day Sailing Regatta to kick off at Corniche Breakwater in Abu Dhabi
30 October 2015 Team Abu Dhabi XCAT to share sailing world cup stage
10 September 2015 DIMC begins race season under the slogan ‘Brave Martyrs’
02 July 2015 Mohamed bin Zayed receives Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team

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