Harken Derm

When it’s for all the marbles

Published on June 26th, 2018

The finale of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 was all that. Three teams tied up, a winner take all last leg with a massive amount of tactics and sail changes fit into a 963 nm course from Gothenburg, SWE to The Hague, NED.

Up until the start, the course length was tweaked to the latest forecast to insure fan-friendly arrivals at a Danish turning mark and full crowds at the finish. While the teams were limited to six hour updates, a live online tracker kept the worldwide webwatchers entranced.

Mark Chisnell, who had been publishing strategic reviews after each leg, has broken down the stages that would ultimately decide the overall winner of the race. Click here for his analytical dissection of the leg.

Mark also took a look at the mental aspect of the moment. As the three boats approached a myriad of TSS Exclusion Zones, a choice between two routes had to be made, a choice that would ultimately decide the overall title.

MAPFRE, leading at the time and positioned in between its two compatriots, with blast reaching conditions along the Danish coast, saw Dongfeng take the inshore route and Brunel taking the offshore route.

Not able to cover both, how does that decision get made? Mark’s report (click here) dives into the options, but after he published it, sterling comments came forth to add icing to the cake.

Robert Greenhalgh – MAPFRE watch captain:
There was very shallow water inshore of a wind farm off the Danish coast. We were not happy to sail there in 20-30kts with a <0.5m of water under the keel. We wanted the Danish coast (inshore route), and we presumed Dongfeng would follow us to the west of wind farm.

But they didn’t and took the shallow option risk which meant they were now 8-10 miles ahead of us. At that point our only option was to then go west (offshore) and hope that way paid as the latest weather suggested. We were well aware that we didn’t get to choose our tactics. We would cover our closest rival and the third boat would split.

Morgan Larson – TP52, Farr 40, 505 World Champion:
Awesome to be 3-way tied in final leg! The third boat would always split but it is unfortunate that race organizers didn’t put a mark off the UK coast to keep all the TSS out of play. With these exclusion zones in the course, it made for a dice roll which isn’t fair to the men and women who’ve been grinding out watch after watch over the last nine months. Congratulations to all the teams!

Ian Williams – 6-time Match Racing World Champion:
While the TSS made for plenty of spectator excitement, I’m not sure it made for the fairest result. Not questioning whether Dongfeng deserved to win, but whether MAPFRE and Brunel deserved not to. Without the TSS it would be harder to question.

Race detailsTrackerScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Leg 11 – Final Results
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3 days, 3 hours, 22 minutes, 32 seconds
2. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 3 days, 3 hours, 38 minutes, 31 seconds
3. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 3 days, 3 hours, 39 minutes, 25 seconds
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 3 days, 3 hours, 45 minutes, 52 seconds
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 3 days, 3 hours, 56 minutes, 56 seconds
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 3 days, 4 hours, 01 minutes, 32 seconds
7. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 3 days, 4 hours, 05 minutes, 36 seconds

Overall Results (after 11 of 11 legs)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 73 points
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 70
3. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 69
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 59
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 39
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 32
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 32

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.

Overall In-Port Race Results (after 10 of 11 races)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 61 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 50
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 45
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 43
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 33
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 24
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 21


The race course for Leg 11 was revised prior to the start, adjusting the length to 963.4nm to ensure fan-friendly arrival times along the route and finish.

After the start on June 21, the boats were sent west out of the islets dotting the entrance to Gothenburg before turning north to head to a turning mark just off the coast of Norway. Then, it’s a dive south to round a mark near the Danish city of Aarhus, followed by a return north around the top of Denmark before racing south to The Hague to the finish on June 24.

For crew list… click here.

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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