MAPFRE earns head start to Lisbon

Published on August 13th, 2017

St Malo, France (August 13, 2017) – MAPFRE maintained their near-faultless performance in Volvo Ocean Race qualifying – and gave themselves the best possible chance of completing overall victory in the four race Leg Zero series – as they led the fleet over the finish line on a short opening stage of the final race out of Saint-Malo.

Extended periods of extremely light weather meant that the 770 nm Saint-Malo to Lisbon leg had to be split into two parts. “This is not something we would do for the real race, but is a practical solution in view of a very light forecast for this leg,” said Race Director Phil Lawrence. “We only have limited days until the race proper begins, and time is precious for the teams.”

In 10 knot winds, the Volvo Ocean 65s stayed tightly during the 25 nm drag race towards Le Grand Lejon. Vestas 11th Hour Racing were neck-and-neck with MAPFRE for the lead, with the Spanish side just pipping them to the line.

Dongfeng Race Team grabbed third ahead of Turn the Tide on Plastic and team AkzoNobel. Preliminary unofficial results gave Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and Team Brunel the same time, with less than a mile between the first and last teams in the seven-boat fleet.

Now that the teams have completed their ‘Sunday drive’, they can prepare for the restart which will begin from Chaussé de Sein at 0900 UTC tomorrow. It will be a staggered start based on the finishing deltas from today.

The forecast expects the start to be with light south easterlies that will quickly die and then come back from the west. This will be a critical transition to manage as the whole race course will favour the leaders and punish the stragglers.

The fleet will negotiate the passage of a cold front early Tuesday morning (Aug 15) and the new wind will set them up for a downwind drag race towards Cape Finisterre, the northwestern tip of Spain. It will be a race for their competitive lives – with light winds chasing them as a ridge of high pressure again pushes into the normally tempestuous Bay of Biscay.

“Leg Zero has been really good for us,” said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández, whose team have won two out of the three races completed so far. “Saint-Malo to Lisbon is the last stop so it’s not quite over yet but I’m so happy with the team, the boat… Everything seems to be working out.”

After negotiating the narrow channel between Cape Finisterre and the out-of-bounds shipping channel, they’ll have a pretty simple run down the Portuguese coast. There’s no major strategic play here, just pure speed before a handbrake turn into the Tagus river and the finish in downtown Lisbon.

“You only enter races to win – but the forecast is flukey so everything’s on the table,” said Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright. “Everyone’s expectation is to be competitive and to continue to refine the areas that we realise need work.”

Overall standings after 3 of 4 completed races in Leg Zero:
1. MAPFRE 23 points

2. Team Brunel 20

3. Dongfeng Race Team 19

4. team AkzoNobel 15

5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 12

6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 9

7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 7

While an overall winner will be declared, no points will be carried forward to the Volvo Ocean Race itself, which starts on October 22 from Alicante, Spain.


The seven teams in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race must compete in four required qualification races, known as Leg Zero, to prepare for the October 22 start in Alicante, Spain.

Two legs combined with scheduled events:
• August 2: The immensely popular Round the Island Race, a 50-nautical mile sprint around the Isle of Wight.
• August 6: The famous 603 nm Rolex Fastnet Race featuring some of the hottest yachting hardware on the planet in a coastal race that has historically served up a hearty dose of danger – and a lot of stressed navigators.

Two legs just for the Volvo Open 65 teams:
• August 10: Plymouth, England to St Malo in France (125 nm)
• August 13: St Malo to Lisbon, Portugal (770 nm)

Overall Leg Zero standings after 3 of 4 races:
1. MAPFRE 23 points
2. Team Brunel 20
3. Dongfeng Race Team 19
4. Team AkzoNobel 15
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 12
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 9
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 7

NOTE: There remains the possibility for an 8th team to still enter. If this occurs, the Notice of Race has a provision to ensure qualification sailing at the direction of the race organizer occurs.

Race detailsRace routeFacebook

2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)

Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.

Source: Volvo Ocean Race

Tags: ,



Back to Top ↑

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your daily or weekly download by email.

Subscribe - In popup

We’ll keep your information safe.