Wistful for the Good Old Days
Published on June 20th, 2018
Gothenburg, SWE (June 20, 2018) – Once upon a time, the Volvo Ocean Race was decided by the team which had the fastest speed around the world. Similar to a regatta without a discard, winning under this format meant finishing every leg in good position.
But as the race got commercialized, and as breakdowns increased due to teams pushing the limit, sponsors weren’t too happy to get eliminated from contention. So the format was changed to score each leg as a separate race, and allow the accumulated points determine the winner.
Teams still had to perform well, but the pain from gear failure was not as great.
For the 2017-18 edition, it was decided that consistency should count again, so the scoring at the end of the final leg will be adjusted to give the fastest team a bonus point. Barring catastrophe, Dongfeng Race Team will get this point. Here’s the total elapsed time of the top three:
Dongfeng Race Team – 118 14h 53m 22s
Team Brunel – 119 10h 31m 10s
MAPFRE – 123 07h 49m 42s
With this bonus point, the three teams are locked in a tie going into the final leg on June 21, but you couldn’t blame Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier for being wistful for the good old days.
“I respect our opponents – they have both sailed fantastic races – but I am confident, that we can do this… We have been better than MAPFRE and Team Brunel many times so yes, we can do it. Sometimes the race has been quite unfair to us and we have not had small pieces of luck – so we need to work for that and if we have it, we can beat them. We have done it many times in the past, so why not again?”
Caudrelier, whose team has scored six podium finishes in nine legs, was part of Franck Cammas’s winning crew on Groupama in 2011-12, and is determined to achieve the same feat as skipper himself.
“Nobody could have imagined that three boats would have exactly the same points before the last leg, so it is very good for the race, though not very good for our nerves,” he quipped. “It will be a great title to win because it is the first time that the boats have had to fight until the end.”
The course to The Hague is going to be a tricky one with variable wind conditions, land and tidal effects and a turning mark – or “fly-by” – off the Danish city of Aarhus where fans will be able to come and watch the fleet as the final battle unfolds. The weather forecast suggests the leg will be dominated by northwesterly winds with a downwind start and then a beat back up the Danish coast before another run to the finish.
On June 21 starts the final and all decisive leg from Gothenburg to The Hague. The boats are expected to finish the 700 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 www.volvooceanrace.com.
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.
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.