Overcoming adversity and adversaries
Published on May 7th, 2015
Newport, RI (May 7, 2015) – Just after darkness set on Narragansett Bay last night, Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) edged overall Volvo Ocean Race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) by just three minutes and 25 seconds to win Leg 6 to Newport after an enthralling duel over the past 24 hours.
The result cuts the Emirati boat’s lead over the Chinese-backed challengers to six points and marks a fantastic comeback for Caudrelier and his crew after they were forced to pull out of the previous leg to Itajaí because of a broken mast. The French skipper paid tribute to his shore crew who managed to fit a new rig in under a week in Brazil and prepare the boat for the 5,010 nm stage through the Atlantic.
“For this leg, the goal was to be ready in Itajaí and the (shore) crew did a fantastic job,” said Caudrelier. “They worked very hard to get this boat ready. I’m really, really happy.”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing made Caudrelier and his men work all the way for the win after 17 days at sea and even threatened to overturn their lead as they passed Block Island 30 nm from the finish.
“We were within a couple of lengths of getting over them at Block Island – literally three or four boat lengths from rolling them – but they held on and dug deep. Very well deserved win,” said Walker.
Caudrelier’s hopes of bouncing back for the triumph had looked in serious jeopardy just two days into the leg, which started on April 19, when the electronic water-maker, which converts sea water into drinking water, broke down. He said if his crew had not been able to repair it, they would have had to locate a harbor to fix the equipment, which by the rules require a 12-hour stop.
“That would have meant another leg where we would have finished last,” said Caudrelier.
Dutch challengers Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) finished just over 55 minutes after Dongfeng to claim the final podium spot, but Bekking sees his goal of winning the overall title to now be out of reach.
“It’s always good to be back on the podium. But the race is lost for us, we have to tell the public about that, because Abu Dhabi has an inaccessible lead now compared to us. Dongfeng still has a good chance, but we’re aiming for second and we still want to win the In-Port Series as well. We’re in the lead over there. We’ve got a couple of things to sail for – and of course we want to win a couple of legs.”
The seventh leg, from Newport, USA to Lisbon, Portugal (2,800 nm), begins May 17 with an ETA between May 22 and 29.
Leg 6 (5,010 nm) Standings
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), Finished May 6, 17d 09h 03m 00s
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), Finished May 6, 17d 09h 06m 25s
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), Finished May 6, 17d 09h 56m 40s
4. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), Finished May 6, 17d 10h 34m 25s
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), Finished May 7, 17d 14h 24m 01s
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), Finished May 7, 17d 20h 59m 08s
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start
Note: Finish date is local time
Overall Standings (after 6 of 9 legs)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), 1-3-2-2-1-2 = 11 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), 2-2-1-3-8-1 = 17
3. Team Brunel (NED), 3-1-5-5-4-3 = 21
4. Team Alvimedica (TUR/USA), 5-4-3-4-3-5 = 24
5. MAPRE (ESP), 7-4-4-1-2-4 = 24*
6. Team SCA (SWE), 6-6-6-6-5-6 = 35
7. Team Vestas Wind (DNK), 4-8-8-8-8-8 = 44
* 2 point penalty after Leg 5 (details)
Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on Oct. 11 with the final finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, seven 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 seventh leg, from Newport, USA to Lisbon, Portugal (2,800 nm), begins May 17 with an ETA between May 22 and 29.