Another Wild Volvo Race Finish

Author:
Updated:
Original:
Mapfre and Team Brunel battle through the fog just shy of the finish

Mapfre and Team Brunel battle through the fog just shy of the finish

For a number of years now, the Volvo Ocean Race has been synonymous with photo finishes at the conclusion of thousands of miles of racing. Still, even by VOR standards, Tuesday’s Leg 8 finish in Newport, Rhode Island, was an extraordinary one: with Spain’s Mapfre not only leapfrogging from fifth place right up into the thick of things in the final 24 hours, but pipping long-time leg-leader Team Brunel at the post just 50 yards shy of the line after the better part of 6,000 miles of racing. Incredible!

In doing so, the team also grabbed the lead overall, an incredible turnaround from a disappointing Leg 7 around Cape Horn when the team finished fifth after having to temporarily suspend racing in order to repair its damaged main.

“This is unbelievable,” Mapfre skipper Xabi Fernández said moments after crossing the finish line. “I can’t be happier. We were always hoping to come back a little bit, but to be honest, we were not expecting to win this leg, so we’re super happy. Our hopes were always that there would be a compression so we could catch someone… Last night [it was] crazy how much everything has closed up and everyone on board did an amazing job.”

A jubilant Xabi Fernández (second from left) celebrates his team’s incredible victory moments after crossing the finish line

A jubilant Xabi Fernández (second from left) celebrates his team’s incredible victory moments after crossing the finish line

Meanwhile, at the other end of the emotional spectrum were Team Brunel’s skipper Bouwe Bekking and Dongfeng’s French-born skipper Charles Caudrelier, whose team had appeared to be well positioned for a possible win as the fleet first began battling its way through the fog and zephyrs guarding the finish off Fort Adams in Narragansett Bay, but instead ended up in fourth.

“We’re very disappointed,” said Caudrelier, whose team had been in first overall at the start of the leg, but is now three points off the pace in second. “We were dreaming about a victory here…. It makes me angry, and I will be better on the next one. I am already focused on the future, and I promise Dongfeng will do a fantastic job on the next one.”

As for Bekking, whose team is now securely in third overall with six points between it and fourth-place AkzoNobel, while he and his team were understandably disappointed, they remained philosophical as well.

The fog of war: Team Brunel (at right) does everything it can to try and keep Mapfre at bay

The fog of war: Team Brunel (at right) does everything it can to try and keep Mapfre at bay

"In the end, it was an annoying finish line for us. But it was exciting, so I hope the audience was able to enjoy it,” said Bekking, whose team had been on top ever since being the first to emerge from the doldrums over a week ago. “Mapfre was the first to cross the finish line, so they have rightly won."

"Obviously I'm pretty disappointed,” added America’s Cup hero and Team Brunel trimmer Peter Burling. “I felt like we sailed a really good leg. To lose the lead to Mapfre with only 0.5 mile to go on one puff drifting along is hard. But we're happy that we're second. It could be way worse. Look at what happened to Dongfeng."

The fleet all lines up alongside the Coast Guard bark Eagle off Fort Adams   

The fleet all lines up alongside the Coast Guard bark Eagle off Fort Adams   

Rounding out the podium was Charlie Enright and Mark Towill’s joint U.S./Danish effort, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, which is now very much racing for pride after missing out on no less than four finishes after a collision with a fishing vessel during Leg 4 and a dismasting in Leg 7. For video of the entire Newport finish in all its nail-biting glory, click here

Meanwhile, the fleet having blasted its way north in record time, the Volvo Race Village out on Newport’s Fort Adam is now officially open, with dozens of activities on tap for race fans of all ages. Between now and the start of Leg 9, across the Atlantic to Cardiff, Wales, on May 20, there will also be a number of on-the-water events, including a practice race on Wednesday, May 16, a Pro-Am Race on May 17, and the official VOR in-port race on Saturday, May 19.

For complete details on the Newport stopover, click here

May 2018

Related

Jerome

Point of SAIL: Jerome Rand

In the first episode of Point of SAIL, the SAIL magazine podcast, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with circumnavigator Jerome Rand about his adventures, past and future. For more information, visit Jerome's YouTube channel July 2020 ...read more

01-NEW-shutterstock_727520281

Cruising: Belize on a Multihull

In my experience, every charter has a kind of a theme to it, often encapsulated in a single moment. For me, during a recent weeklong charter off the coast of Belize that moment came toward the end of our first day out. We’d left the Sunsail base (sunsail.com), located part way ...read more

01-LEAD-View-of-the-Bow

Know-How: Marlinspike Seamanship in the Arctic

I was crewing aboard a boat named Breskell, a 51ft cutter-rigged, cold-molded, mahogany sloop. We were voyaging from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Port Townsend, Washington, via the Northwest Passage. A few days before setting sail, the captain, Olivier Huin, asked me to secure ...read more

Prop-Coat-Barnacle-Barrier-Quart-No-Background

Gear: Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier

Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier 1792 is now available in a quart-size can and, as always, can be used on all underwater metals, including saildrives, shafts, strainers and folding and non-folding props. Two or three coats are recommended, after which the coating will purportedly ...read more

DY_171021_6877

Boat Review: Seawind 1600

Seawind Catamarans introduced its 52ft 1600 model in Europe last year, where the boat promptly started winning awards. The more jaded among us may look askance at such things, especially when it comes to a bluewater-rated catamaran billed as a providing a combination of ...read more