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Published on November 6th, 2014

Cape Town, South Africa (November 6, 2014) – It wasn’t so much catching sight of Abu Dhabi Racing on the horizon as Ian Walker’s team made their final blast to the Volvo Ocean Race finish line (on Nov. 5) that made the penny drop, but more that just behind them we could make out the silhouette of Dongfeng Racing. Twenty five days of racing and more than 6,500 miles later, and here were the top two boats finishing the race’s first leg just 12 minutes apart.

Winner: Ian Walker (GBR), Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

“We knew from the start that we were well prepared.We knew that we had a boat that was no different from anyone else’s and therefore didn’t have to worry about having a slow boat as we did in the past. We knew that this would be a very different race than before where the competition would be closer and we would have to play percentages, stay in contention with the fleet and grind people down. In short, play it just how you might for an Olympic campaign.”

Second: Charles Caudrelier (FRA), Dongfeng Race Team

“We are fast because we have a team that works well together but also that has a great deal of experience in shorthanded racing and can therefore turn their hands to many tasks. When I put the team together I was aware that I am a young skipper myself and while I could have picked some of the most experienced sailors out there, I needed to select people who would gel together. We are strong because we are a team. We feel confident when we’re reaching and downwind, but less confident when we’re in the transition zone between breezes. Maybe it’s because we are mainly solo sailors and deal with these situations differently.”

Third: Bouwe Bekking (NED), Team Brunel
“That was one of the easiest first Volvo legs from a weather point of view. The most breeze we saw was 37 knots when we were coming out of the Gibraltar Straits, but since then we have seen no more than 27 knots for the rest of the trip. Compared to what this leg can deliver we have had an easy ride. They are a strange boat in a way in that their maximum speed is in around 20 knots of wind. Any more and you don’t seem to go any quicker. The Volvo 70s were different to these and much more powerful and in many ways easier to drive. I think there’s more to discover about the Volvo 65s in stronger winds when we get to 30-40 knots and some of our experiences in testing suggest that they could pitch pole.”

Excerpts from report by Matthew Sheahan of Yachting World. FULL REPORT

Leg 1 Standings
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), finished, 025d 03h 10m 44s
2. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), finished, 025d 03h 22m 48s
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), finished, 025d 07h 33m 25s
4. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), finished, 026d 00h 48m 47s
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), finished, 026d 13h 07m 38s
Position Report (as of Nov. 7, 00:40 UTC)
6. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), 133.1 nm Distance to Finish
7. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 139.3 nm DTF

Race websiteTrackingWatch logVideos

Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began Leg 1 on October 11, which took the 7 teams 6478nm from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition – the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series. The next In-Port race will be Nov. 15 with Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi starting on Nov. 19. The final finish is on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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