Spanish flagged MAPFRE has won Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race, vaulting itself into first place overall. Taking second in the 7,000-mile marathon from Lisbon, Portugal, to Cape Town, South Africa, was China’s Dongfeng followed by U.S./Danish-flagged Vestas 11th Hour Racing, which finished first in Leg 1 and now trails the Spanish by a single point in the overall standings.
For most of the first half of the leg, MAPFRE found itself staring at Dongfeng’s transom as the fleet made its way south, but a little under a week before the finish and 14 days into the leg, MAPFRE navigator Juan Vila and skipper Xabi Fernández made the winning move, a quick gybe to the southwest that Dongfeng didn’t cover.
Within hours, the decision paid and MAPFRE had a tactical advantage it would never relinquish for the rest of the final week of racing.
"It's amazing, we're super happy. We came here in one piece and in front of the others, we can't ask for more," skipper Xabi Fernández said afterward. "This is what we will see all the way around the world. Super-tight racing, everyone has good speed and small mistakes are very expensive. This time we were lucky to do the least mistakes, and that's why we won."
Overall, MAPFRE sailed 7,886.5 nautical miles over the ground at an average speed of 17.3 knots.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the VOR without a nail-biting finish or two, and this time around it was Dutch-flagged AkzoNobel besting Scallywag by less than 4 miles and Scallywag crossing the line a mere couple of hundred yards ahead of sixth-place finisher Turn the Tide on Plastic.
“We’ve had Scallywag in our sights since the equator crossing, and that result is not what we deserved. We deserved more, I’m gutted for them,” Turn the Tide skipper Dee Caffari said of the effort put forth by her crew. “We lost two miles today to them and then we got it back to a couple of boatlengths. Fair play to our guys to make it happen, and that’s why I wanted the result to go the other way.”
As for Scallywag skipper David Witt and the rest of his team, after sailing within sight of Turn the Tide on Plastic for most of the Leg, they could finally exhale after crossing the finish line barely a minute ahead. “Everyone was good. No one gave up,” Witt said. “We’re solid. We have good character. We have to stick together, keep fighting and get better.”
The overall standings for Leg 2 are as follows. For complete results, click here.
1. MAPFRE -- FINISHED -- 15:10.33 UTC – 19 days, 01h:10m:33s
2. Dongfeng Race Team -- FINISHED -- 18:02.39 UTC – 19 days, 04h:02m:39s
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- FINISHED -- 19:37.53 UTC – 19 days, 05h:37m:53s
4. Team Brunel -- FINISHED -- 00:14.47 UTC – 19 days, 10h:14m:47s
5. Team AkzoNobel -- FINISHED -- 21:24.40 UTC – 20 days, 07h:24m:40s
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag -- FINISHED -- 21:55.21 UTC – 20 days, 07h:55m:21s
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic -- FINISHED -- 21:56.29 UTC – 20 days, 07h:56m:29s