Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 - The in-port racing is sure to be among the highlights of the entire event. In-port racing will deliver less than 20 percent of the points in the Race, yet dominating the high-profile one-dayers could deliver a big psychological advantage for one of the teams.
To that end, Groupama sailing team are working hard at their Lorient base to perfect their technique in a form of racing that will deliver points at all 10 of the Host Ports.
'A crew that does well inshore can intimidate their rivals,' said navigator Charles Caudrelier. 'Their preparation could give them the winning edge.
'This can give them a psychological advantage and training on windward-leeward courses means you have to carry out lots of manoeuvres, running through everything again and again until it all comes naturally like a reflex action.'
The in-port races see the Volvo Open 70s blast around a short course in front of thousands of shoreside spectators. Crews must learn to perform moves such as clustered starts and sail hoists and drops with next to no notice – and mistakes come with a huge price.
'This is a different way of sailing the boat,' said Groupama trimmer Philip Harmer. 'It's not the best boat that wins the in-port races, but the one that has the best team: a team that works well together, that communicates well and carries out manoeuvres quickly.'
The techniques which Groupama have been fine-tuning in France should stand them in good stead for the longer ocean legs too.
Caudrelier added: 'Carrying out manoeuvres smoothly, getting an advantage at the start… All of these things that we have focused on during our training will also be useful during the ocean racing legs.'
The first In-Port Race will take place in Alicante, Spain, on October 29 ahead of the start of Leg one on November 5th 2011. Volvo Ocean Race website