Volvo Ocean Race: Mettraux Joins Dongfeng
Published on December 27th, 2017
Dongfeng Race Team, which currently lies second overall in the Volvo Ocean Race, has today announced that it is calling up the highly talented Swiss female sailor Justine Mettraux for Leg 4 from Melbourne to Hong Kong. The Chinese entry has called on the Swiss sailor to replace Marie Riou who is taking a break during the stage from Melbourne to Hong Kong
The Swiss sailor, who competed in 2014-15 as part of the all-female Team SCA, will join the Chinese entry as they sit second overall in the 2017-18 edition.
She will replace French Olympian and four-time Nacra 17 world champion Marie Riou, who is taking a break from Charles Caudrelier’s crew as part of a planned rotation after a brutal and relentless Southern Ocean leg, and will return for Leg 5 from Hong Kong to Auckland.
Other changes on Dongfeng include the return of Kiwi watch captain Daryl Wislang, who has now recovered from a back injury which kept him out of Leg 3, plus Vendée Globe star Jeremie Beyou and Chinese sailor Horace (Chen Jin Hao), who were also rested for the 6,500nm race from Cape Town to Melbourne.
They replace Fabien Delahaye, Stu Bannatyne and Black (Liu Xue) for stage four of the 45,000 nautical mile race around the planet.
31-year-old Mettraux is originally from Geneva but is now based in Lorient, France, and brings formidable talent and experience to the red boat.
In addition to her valuable time spent racing on the Volvo Ocean 65 last edition, she is an accomplished solo sailor, having finished second in the Mini-Transat in 2013, the best finish in that race for a female sailor, and seventh in the Solitaire du Figaro in 2016.
Earlier this year, alongside Bertrand Delesne, she finished fourth in the Class40 fleet in the Transat Jacques Vabre.
According to Dongfeng Race Team skipper Charles Caudrelier, Mettraux – whose sister Elodie-Jane is also racing as part of Turn the Tide on Plastic – was a natural choice for Leg 4.
“We wanted someone as tough and competitive as Marie, and Justine was the obvious choice,” he explained. “She is very experienced as a solo racer but also has the Team SCA background. She knows several of our sailors well, so I have no doubt that she will settle in quickly during the leg to Hong Kong.”
Mettraux is looking forward to the challenge of joining Dongfeng Race Team. “I am really happy to join the team for a leg,” she said. “It’s a first for me to sail with the really good sailors who are on Dongfeng, so I am really looking forward to joining them for Leg 4.
“Marie wanted to have a break during the race which I think is clever because the Volvo Ocean Race is very long and very tiring, so I am giving her a break on this leg and hopefully she can have a good rest and come back in really good shape,” she added.
On Dongfeng she will sail – as she did on Team SCA – as a headsail trimmer and she is looking forward to racing with some familiar faces. “I know Carolijn Brouwer well,” she said. “We sailed together on SCA and I really enjoyed sailing with her. I also know Kevin Escoffier, who is a good friend of my partner, and Fabien Delahaye who has worked with me on routing in my Figaro campaign.”
Brouwer said she will be sad not see Riou on board for Leg 4 but is delighted to be sailing with Mettraux again. “I am more than confident that Justine is going to fit in really well in this team,” she said. “We did a lot of sailing together with SCA – she is a really, really talented sailor and she showed that during the SCA campaign when she became an extremely good trimmer and a very organised one too, which is also important.”
The opportunity to race with Dongfeng Race Team comes at the perfect time for Mettraux who has just finished the Transat Jacques Vabre and whose Figaro boat is currently in re-fit.
Mettraux has been watching how Dongfeng Race Team has been getting on and knows that Leg 4 – like the previous three – is likely to see a continuation of Dongfeng’s epic battle with MAPFRE.
“They have managed to go really fast so I will be really interested to see how they do that and how they manage to get that speed,” said Mettraux. “And yes, there is a little bit of a battle going on with MAPFRE and I think it will continue until the end of the race. I hope that we will be able to stay in front of them on Leg 4, but it is going to be an interesting contest to follow for the rest of the race.”
Everything you need to know about Justine Mettraux –
Born: 4 October 1986 in Geneva, Switzerland
Career highlights include:
2013: 3rd in the Mini Transat 6.50
2014-15: 6th place Volvo Ocean Race with Team SCA
2017: 7th in La Solitaire du Figaro with Team Work
2017: 4th in the Transat Jacques Vabre Class 40 with B Delesne on Team Work
Also returning to the crew for this leg is Kiwi mainsheet trimmer and watch captain Daryl Wislang who has made a good recovery from a back injury, French Vendee Globe star Jeremie Beyou, who was rested on Leg 3 and now replaces Stu Bannatyne, and Chinese sailor Chen Jinhao/Horace who is back in place of Xue Liu/Black.
Bruno Dubois, the Dongfeng Race Team director, commented on the crew change. “The Volvo Ocean Race requires an outstanding long-term effort by everyone on the team and especially the sailing team. It was always in our plans to rotate some of our crew to ensure we get the best out of a hugely talented sailing squad. We are delighted to have someone as competitive and experienced as Justine for the next leg and to welcome back Daryl, Jeremie and Horace.”
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