Volvo Ocean Race: Donfeng wins Cape Town In-Port Race

Published on December 8th, 2017

Cape Town, South Africa (December 8, 2017) – Volvo Ocean Race teams Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Dongfeng Race Team traded blows throughout the first half of the Cape Town In-Port Race course this afternoon, before the Chinese-French team grabbed the lead midway through the race and stretched away for their first win in the series.

The victory vaults skipper Charles Caudrelier’s team to second place on the leaderboard for the In-Port Race Series, just behind MAPFRE who retained the overall lead with a fightback second place finish today.

“The team did a fantastic job, very nice boat handling and good speed, so well done to the full team,” Caudrelier said after the race. “Our start was not fantastic, but after that we made a good call to tack a bit earlier and put pressure on Vestas and then we found some good speed. That was a key factor.”

Conditions were spectacular on the waters off Cape Town, with wind near 20 knots, under bright, sunny skies. Boat handling was at a premium in the fresh conditions and on the first two laps of the course, there were several very close crosses as the boats approached the turning gates.

Near the end of the second run, Vestas 11th Hour Racing were sailing on an awkward wind angle to the mark and had difficulty furling their big A3 downwind sail in preparation for the rounding.

It didn’t hurt them immediately but when they next tried to deploy the sail at the final top mark, it wouldn’t fully unfurl, and the team was very slow for most of the final run.

“We started well,” said navigator Simon Fisher. “At the second top mark Dongfeng did a great job, pushing us to the less favoured side, which pushed us back into the fleet, which put pressure on the downwind drop, which meant we didn’t have a great furl, and that hurt us on the last run. It’s just a great example of how things can snowball.”

The mistake cost the team two places, as both MAPFRE and team AkzoNobel raced past on the run to the finish.

The second place finish represented a tremendous comeback for MAPFRE who were forced into a penalty turn just before the start, leaving them them the last to get across the line.

But the Spanish team kept pushing its way up the fleet, finally forcing team AkzoNobel away with an aggressive luff near the final top mark, setting the table for the pass of Vestas 11th Hour Racing on the final run.

Further back, Brunel and Scallywag engaged in a luffing match early on the first run. The Umpires penalised Scallywag for an infraction and following the penalty turn, David Witt’s team were trailing the fleet.

At the finish, a hard-charging Brunel nearly stole a place from Turn the Tide on Plastic. But Dee Caffari’s team, who had a very strong start to the race, held on for fifth place.

To see In-Port Race crew lists… click here.

 

Cape Town In-Port Race Results
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
6. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)

Overall In-Port Race Series Results (3 of 11 events)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 19 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 18
3. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 13
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 12
5. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 11
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 6
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 5

Race detailsLive contentScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

The third leg starts December 10 for the 6500 nm course to Melbourne, Australia. Leg 3 is expected to take 12 to 16 days to complete.

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

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