Volvo Ocean Race: Sleeping is for losers

Published on June 20th, 2018

Gothenburg, SWE (June 20, 2018) – Three teams will start Leg 11 tomorrow – the final 970 nautical mile sprint leg of the Volvo Ocean Race – in a virtual tie for the lead, setting up an epic, dramatic and unprecedented denouement.

After racing over 44,000 nautical miles around the world, two teams now sit tied at the top of the overall leaderboard on 65 points – MAPFRE and Team Brunel – with Dongfeng Race Team currently just one point behind them on 64.

However, a bonus point is given for the shortest elapsed time around the world, and Dongfeng is holding nearly a 20 hour lead. This has effectively created a three-way tie that will only be settled by the result of this final leg.

Never in the 45-year history of the race has the competition been so close heading into the final leg. And while it’s not a long leg, crews may not see much sleep for the three days.

Leaving Gothenburg, the teams will head south for a turning mark off the Danish city of Aarhus, do a button-hook turn north to get around Denmark and down its west side and toward The Hague on the North Sea coast of the western Netherlands. With rocks and current, there is nothing easy about this leg.

“It’s amazing to see three boats on the same points,” said Charles Caudrelier, skipper of Dongfeng. “I think one of these three teams deserve to win the race. Now it’s up to us to push harder to be ahead of these guys in The Hague. We know it’s going to be a big fight, it’s good for the race and we’re excited and ready to go.”

Xabi Fernández, the skipper of MAPFRE, has led the race for more stages than any other team. Now he’s pushing to bring victory to Spain for the first time in the history of the race.

“We are in an amazing situation now, we have three boats, equal points, one leg to go. I am very happy to be among these three boats and fighting,” Fernández said. “But we know that only one will win. We have one mission, we have to beat them.”

Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel has already made a tremendous comeback from being in sixth place after Leg 6 in Auckland to now having the overall title within their reach, if only they can keep up their recent form.

“We’re in the flow,” Bekking said. “If you look at the leaderboard, we’re going faster on every leg. Last leg we found some new gears and I think that’s a good thing. And I think we have ended up with a team that we’re really happy with. Last but not least, I’m sailing in my home waters. I’ve lived in Denmark for more than 25 years. And of course the place where we finish, I’ve grown up over there. We have all the ingredients to win the race.”

Further down the leaderboard, Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic, has pulled into a position to overhaul David Witt’s SHK/Scallywag, with just one point separating the pair in sixth and seventh place.

“It would be huge to get past them,” she said. “For a team coming in late, with a young, inexperienced crew, everyone had written us off completely. But we’ve been much more competitive than everyone thought we would be in our sailing, and to not finish at the bottom would be the cherry on the cake for our team. It would be a huge achievement and I’d be very proud of them. But he (David) isn’t going to let us get it easily – I know that!!”

For Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright, his position on the leaderboard is locked in with a fifth place finish overall, not where he’d wanted to have finished after winning the first leg.

“Had things bounced a different way maybe we’d be talking about four boats at the top,” Enright said. “But we are where we are. We’ve grown stronger as a group and I probably have grown as an individual as well, given the adversity we’ve faced. I’ve learned a lot… I’m proud of our team and everything we’ve accomplished on the water in the face of adversity.”

The final leg brings the fleet into The Hague and with two Dutch skippers in the race, the reception is expected to be epic.

“What we can expect in The Hague is something we’ve never seen before in the race, even going back to the Whitbread,” said team AkzoNobel’s Simeon Tienpont. “There might be up to one-million visitors expected in that week and I think that shows what kind of event this is in the sporting world and especially in The Netherlands.”

On June 21 starts the final and all decisive leg from Gothenburg to The Hague. The boats are expected to finish the 970 nm course, which detours around a mark off the Danish city of Aarhus, by Sunday, June 24.

Racing starts at 1400 local time (1200 UTC) with livestream video of the action from 1345 local time (1145 UTC) at

Editor’s note: While the VOR communication department reports Leg 11 to be 700nm, the tracker is reporting the length to be 970.8nm. Given the wind forecast, and the desire to finish on June 24, the course has been revised to the longer length.

For crew list… click here.

Race detailsTrackerScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Overall Results (after 10 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 65 points
2. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 65
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 64*
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 53
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 38
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 30
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 29
* One additional point will be awarded to the team with the best elapsed time at the conclusion of the race in The Hague. Currently, Dongfeng would win this point.

NOTE: The In-Port Race Series is a separate event, but should there be a tie on the overall race leaderboard at the end of the offshore legs, the In-Port Race Series standings will be used to break the tie.

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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