Charlie Enright’s Alvimedica Team may be the youngest in the Volvo Ocean Race but they didn’t look it on Saturday; the Turkish-flagged, American-helmed crew looked smart and conservative, letting the other boats mostly take themselves out of racing with a litany of boathandling flubs. Bad gybes, worse furls, screwy roundings, ugly laylines – most of the teams had one or more of these issues – but not Charlie. So the boys in orange get the morale boosting In-Port Race victory over Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi team with the Spanish
The coverage itself was a bit embarrassing even for the first go-round, with the sole production bright light being brilliant talker and ex-Olympic Star guy Mark Covell on the microphone. Unfortunately, the hysterically screaming play-by-play Englishman beside him snuffed that light out most of the time with brilliant observations like “they are really close together!!!” and “this is the team’s third Vendee Race together!!!” The actual pictures weren’t much better – two helicopters, zero on-board footage, and what looked like iPhone footage from the water making up nearly all the images on the Youtube and broadcast feed. Even the Virtual Eye (or more likely, a knockoff based on the poor quality and completely inaccurate speeds) was useless.
We get that the VOR needed to cut costs, and we get that the In-Port now counts for almost nothing, and we get that the In-Ports are now pretty much internet only – and we applaud all these decisions. But we don’t get how the sponsors can look at this level of coverage and not be embarrassed to be involved. No coverage of any part of the world’s premier ocean race – the Formula 1 of the ocean – should be outspent and outperformed by live coverage of the World Match Race Tour, the Great Cup, or even the 5o5 Worlds. But this In Port coverage was.
Organizers deserve a little leeway because it’s their first attempt for this one but it ain’t like the VOR staffers haven’t been down this road before, so they don’t get much. Step it up, guys and girls, or give up on your claims of being the Big Show.