Another Wild Volvo Race Finish

Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
26
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

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comImpeller Practice Engine raw-water pump impellers don’t last forever. Even if they are not destroyed by running the engine dry following a blockage, they still deteriorate with the years. If you’ve never ...read more

Waves1(1)

Know how: Weather 101, Basics

OverviewThe first thing to know is that “Weather 101, Basics” is a science course. Its goal is to prepare boaters for a second course launching later this year called “Weather 202, Advanced.” Taken together, these classes are designed to teach boaters to become their own weather ...read more

05-Close-reaching

Light-Air Sailing

Some of the best times aboard a cruising boat are in light airs—those quiet, relaxed sunny days with gentle sailing that just wouldn’t be the same if you were motoring. However, many cruising yachts are not set up to truly fullfill their potential in these kinds of conditions.One ...read more

VOR-BoatYard

Volvo Ocean Race: the Boatyard

The Volvo Ocean Race stopovers are a chance for sailors to rest between grueling legs of the race and for fans to enjoy seeing their favorite boats in person. Behind the scenes of the festivities, however, Nick Bice and his team of expert riggers, boatbuilders, sailmakers and ...read more

20160711_Klampe_Alu_013

Nomen: Folding Cleats

Springtime for CleatsIt’s not every day you see a new take on the humble cleat. There are two problems with these essential items: lines tend to get snagged in them when you least want them to and they attract bare toes with painful accuracy. German company Nomen, maker of the ...read more

WS-POD-600

Watt & Sea: Power Pod Hydrogenerators

Power PodHydrogenerators are an increasingly common addition to bluewater cruising boats, but for all their benefits many sailors don’t like to mount them on the transom, where they may interfere with self-steering gear or drop-down transom platforms. Instead, Watt & Sea’s new ...read more