[Volvo Ocean Race #7] A breathtaking arrival... but frustrating!
55 seconds. That’s all. 55 seconds was the difference between third and fourth place. After 2,800 nautical miles it was a simple crew error saw DongFeng Race Team lose third place to Team Alvimedica after an intense and exhausting match-racing finish to the Leg 7 finish. For their part, the girls of Team SCA once more arrived in sixth place on wednesday in Lisbon, four hours and 22 minutes behind the winner, Team Brunel.
© Yann Riou
Team Brunel and Mapfre were speeding up towards their first and second places while Dongfeng Race Team was slowly progressing along the Tagus River, preparing for a podium position. And that’s when it all went wrong for the Chinese project. “We were a few hundreds meters behind Mapfre when we got stuck in a light spot, explains french skipper Charles Caudrelier. Powerless, we saw Team Alvimedica coming back and we had a great fight. It was very close. We made a small mistake unfortunately and it cost us a lot.” In fact, it cost Dongfeng the third place in Leg 7, and particularly what could have been an invaluable gain on their direct competitor Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, leader of general ranking who is only fifth in Portugal.
“I am really angry with myself for the mistake we made just before the finish line. I want to apologise to my crew. They had a very good spirit and mine was negative which was maybe why we lost that position. I need to work on me and spend a few days back with my family to recover.” The thing is, they shouldn’t have even been fighting for third place. Indeed, the Julbo boat led the fleet during a long time but was out of luck, like when on his road Dongfeng Race Team accidently hit a shark…
© Rick Tomlinson
And for Team SCA, it was the closest finish time of this edition. “We’re happy to be here not very far from the others”, says for their part Sam Davies, skipper of Team SCA. Sam always focuses on the positives – she says it herself, it’s part of her personality. But as her team takes its sixth sixth place of the seven offshore legs completed so far in the race, she admits it’s not easy. “Once we fell behind a little bit. The girls did a great job despite special conditions. It was like someone had ironed the Atlantic ! So we had flat water and really light winds, this was my 21st Transat and I have never seen the Atlantic like it.”
Besides, Team SCA, the other Julbo boat, has sailed the highest distance of all boats in this transatlantic leg: they covered 70 nautical miles more than the leaders. The magenta monohull VO65 was also the fastest with an average speed of 13.48 knots, but not enough to win unfortunately… “It’s expensive when you make a mistake, you can just see that”, regrets Sam Davies, who is wearing Julbo Coast. Surrounded by a sea of magenta fans, she and her teammates are in good spirits as they’re reunited with their families and friends, and Sam smiles. “That’s progress again.”
However it’ still a long way until the final race to Gothenburg, Sweden. Two more legs, short ones, but they count for the same points as a 3-week leg across the Southern Ocean. So the overall podium is far from set…
The start of the next leg in Lorient, France, will be given on 7th June. We wish our both « Julbo boats » good sailing!
General ranking of Volvo Ocean Race after Leg 7:
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - 16 pts
2. Dongfeng Race Team - 21 pts
3. Team Brunel - 22 pts
4. Mapfre - 26 pts
5. Team Alvimedica - 27 pts
6. Team SCA - 41 pts
7. Team Vestas Wind - 52 pts
More info and follow the race: www.volvooceanrace.com