The eXtreme 40 Series – Alicante Grand Prix at the Volvo Ocean Race village kicked off on Monday with an action-packed day of racing under the bright Alicante sun.
A full eight races were completed today with the catamarans screaming around the inner harbour. The race course boundary was the race village itself, meaning the action was just metres away from the spectators today.
Conditions were perfect for close-quarters racing with a moderate sea breeze of around 10 knots under bright sunny skies throughout the afternoon. Six teams battled for supremacy around the small ‘darsena’ basin.
In conditions which just had the 40ft catamarans flying a hull, it was Randy Smyth and crew on Delta Lloyd/Tommy Hilfiger who took the first winners’ gun — to great celebrations on board. The rest of the fleet were determined not to let them have it easy in the second race though, with no fewer than four boats over the startline early. All but one — Volvo Ocean Race — returned to start correctly, but had a big gap to make up on the leaders — Twins and Holmatro. Twins came out on top to take the second win.
After a change to a triangular course for Race 3, new team OrangeB took their first win. The breeze had built to a steady 12 knots, with the extreme 40s screaming down to the spectator dock on one hull, spinnakers ragging as the crews struggled to get them under control for the bottom mark rounding. The Orange team’s luck ran out in the next when they were over the line early and had to go back and start again, converting them to last, while Holmatro took the win.
Another new team for this year, Alicante 2008-09, went on to win the next — making 5 different winners out of 5 races, whilst Delta Lloyd/Tommy Hilfiger’s run of top-three places had moved them into top slot overall.
There were boats of all sizes on the racecourse for race six, as some of the Volvo 70 teams sailed back to base from training, while two tiny ‘flying’ International Moths mixed it up among the milling extreme 40s. Twins scored their second win of the day, with just a couple of points between the leading teams.
Another change of course for race seven had the extreme 40 Grand Prix fleet zig-zagging right across the bay — Alicante 2008-09 scored the win. Then in the evening sunlight it was the turn of Volvo Ocean Race to score a first place in the final race of the day, while Delta Lloyd dropped to last — giving the overall lead to the Alicante boat at the end of Day 1.
'We are first by one point,' said Alicante 2008-09’s Johnny Hutchcroft, who is part of a brand new team who had never sailed together before today’s eight races. 'We had about an hour to practice before the start of the race – and we had corporate guests on then too! But we gelled together and it’s really nice and relaxed on the boat, we just seem to be going okay, and we’re absolutely stoked with the result!'
The eXtreme 40 Series continues through Friday, adding another attraction to the Volvo Ocean Race village in Alicante. DAY 1 RESULTS:
1st Alicante 2008-09 (3-5-2-3-1-4-1-3 ) 22 points
2nd Delta Lloyd/Tommy Hilfiger (1-3-3-2-3-3-2-6) 23 points
3rd OrangeB (2-4-1-6-4-2-5-4) 28 points
4th Twins (4-1-4-4-5-1-4-5) 28 points
5th Holmatro (5-2-6-1-2-5-6-2) 29 points
6th Volvo Ocean Race (6-7-5-5-6-6-3-1) 39 points
This past weekend, over 100 000 people enjoyed the first point-scoring action of the Volvo Ocean Race, with large crowds for Saturday’s In-Port Race and Bryan Adams concert and more then turning out to soak up the atmosphere at the race village on a sunny Sunday. http://www.volvooceanrace.org/