Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Ian Walker and his Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew aboard Azzam are hoping for light winds and difficult sailing, conditions that favour their boat in the in-port race.
Ian Walker and his Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew aboard Azzam are hoping for light winds and difficult sailing, conditions that favour their boat in the in-port race.

Volvo Ocean Race: Azzam's final port of call has arrived

'So many things have to happen', says skipper Ian Walker, but the final in-port race is Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's last chance at some consolation glory in the Volvo Ocean Race.


At a news conference last month in Lisbon, Portugal, Azzam skipper Ian Walker assured listeners that nobody sails the Volvo Ocean Race to win the in-port title.

Yet now that title remains the last item in question as the round-the-world slog reaches its final day before an expected large crowd in Galway, Ireland.

As the six boats sail the in-port race Saturday at Galway, four have a chance to win the title for accruing the most points across the nine in-port events.

With the French boat Groupama already clinching the overall title on Leg 9 from Lorient, France, to Galway, sailors will hunt the last available points in the race, awarded on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 scale, with the Spanish/Kiwi entry Camper and the American boat Puma standing on 39 in-port points.

Just behind lurks Groupama on 38, with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam still holding faint possibilities at 35.

"It's pretty hard because there are so many boats up there and so many things have to happen," Walker said on the race website.

"You certainly can't control it, you just have to try and have a good race. It is no coincidence that we're won the three lightest-wind in-port races because those are the conditions where our boat is OK. If we want one thing it's nice, light, shifty, difficult racing."

Abu Dhabi handily won the first in-port race and held the first lead overall, way back on October 29 in Alicante, Spain. It also won the in-port race on January 13 in Abu Dhabi for a home celebration at the third stopover, and the in-port race in Miami on May 19 at the seventh stopover.

That made Azzam the only boat with three in-port wins, but in recent in-port races, Azzam has finished fourth in Lisbon and fifth in Lorient, France, to bring its in-port deficit close to insurmountable.

After winning one of the nine ocean legs, Azzam has 125 points overall and holds fifth place in a race Groupama won with 250.

Camper could add the in-port honour to a heady campaign that has seen it all but clinch second-place overall, with 226 points, despite not possessing one of the Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed boats considered the fastest in the race. "A win would be huge for us," skipper Chris Nicholson said.

And Groupama crew will try to pull themselves together again after the crescendo of celebrating.

"We are now in a position to be in front of the inshore leaderboard, so we'll try to keep the chance alive as long as possible and fight for that," skipper Franck Cammas.

"The overall result is most important, and we are very happy to win that. The in-port is not as crucial, but for sure on Saturday we will try to finish the racing as successfully as possible."


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike puts Al Jazira on verge of qualifying for the last 16 of Asian Champions League

All to play for across East Asia during final round of group phase.

 Manchester City's Vincent Kompany reacts after being sent off by referee Lee Mason during their English Premier League soccer match against Hull City at the KC stadium in Hull, northern England March 15, 2014. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Man City’s Manuel Pellegrini says Vincent Kompany is an important player

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini defends team captain and talks about team's injuries ahead of clash with Sunderland at home on Wednesday night.

 Supporters of China during the Asian Cup Qualifier match between Iraq vs China at Sharjah football stadium in Sharjah. Iraq won the match by 3-1. Pawan Singh / The National

Asian Cup expanding to 24 football teams in 2019

As part of a regional shake-up, the 2019 Asian Cup will climb to 24 teams but next month’s Challenge Cup in the Maldives will be the last, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced.

 Latifa Ali Al Shamsi of UAE fights compatriot Boshra Ghanem Al Zadjali in their 38.5kg match at the Junior World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Christopher Pike / The National

Competitors at Abu Dhabi Junior World Jiu-Jitsu Championship target world domination

All of Wednesday’s winners at the tournament, being held in the UAE capital, are ambitious enough to target a black belt and reach the pinnacle of the sport, Amith Passela reports.

 Jacques Kallis top-scored with 72 for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Pawan Singh / The National

Kallis kicks off IPL 7 with fifty as Kolkata thrash Mumbai

South African legend shows class is permanent as Knight Riders beat defending champions by 41 runs. Osman Samiuddin reports from Abu Dhabi.

 Amir Khan, during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre on March 24, 2014 in Bolton, England, says his fight will be the real main event in Las Vegas on May 3. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Amir Khan says bout with Luis Collazo ‘will steal the show’ in Las Vegas on May 3

British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan says his fight with Luis Collazo will be the main attraction on same fight card led by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana, writes Omar Al Raisi.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National