Bill Kneller’s (Newport, R.I.) Vento Solare crosses behind John Gowell’s (East Greenwich, R.I.) Temptress at last year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race. Fifty one teams have entered the 14th edition of the annual offshore adventure, which starts this Friday at 12:30 p.m. between Fort Adams and Rose Island. (Photo by Stephen Cloutier)

 

With 51 teams registered to compete, the 2018 Ida Lewis Distance Race will create quite the spectacle of sail when it starts at 12:30 p.m. on Friday (August 17) between Fort Adams and Rose Island. Prior to the gun, Ida Lewis Yacht Club’s Race Committee will decide – based on weather forecasts and sea conditions – which of four courses will be used in this 14th edition of the yearly round-trip offshore adventure.

“The courses range from 112 to 169 nautical miles and incorporate such iconic waypoints as Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Tower,” said Race Chairman Pat Kennedy. “They are chosen with the best intention of having the fleet finish within 18-24 hours.”

Twenty teams on the roster show as hailing from Rhode Island, with many local sailors also sprinkled in amongst the out-of-town entries from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and as far away as Ohio, Florida, and Louisiana. Newport’s own Ken Read, a Volvo Ocean Race veteran and sailing world champion several times over, will take his place aboard the TP52 Spookie, whose captain is Newport’s Ben Quatromoni. Co-skippering the boat will be Miami’s Mark Watson and owner Steve Benjamin, who splits his time between Norwalk, Conn., and Jamestown, R.I. and has skippered in the race four times. “It’s one of my favorites,” said Benjamin, who last won in 2016. “I particularly like the challenge of deciding which side to take Block Island on the leg from Vineyard Tower to Montauk.” About his competition in the 15-boat IRC division Benjamin added: “Since the Bermuda Race, we know that both Privateer and Dreamcatcher are very fast.”

Privateer is Ron O’Hanley’s (Boston, Mass.) canting keel Cookson 50 that has made a name for itself throughout New England, and Dreamcatcher is a Swan 48 sailed by Stonington Connecticut’s Mudratz Offshore Program. The team won its class in the Newport to Bermuda Race and has joined the Ida Lewis Distance Race roster as a Youth Entry, which requires at least 40% of a crew to be within a certain age range to qualify. Middletown, R.I.’s Andy Burton will also field a Youth Entry in the five-boat PHRF Cruising Spinnaker class aboard his newly obtained Baltic 47Masquerade, while Young American YCC, will represent the Young American Sailing Academy of Rye, N.Y. as a Youth Entry in the 27-boat PHRF division. The team won its class here last year. “

We had a great time despite the fact it was really windy,” said Young American YCC’s coach Peter Becker. “The kids loved it and have sea stories to tell about surfing right through the lee of boats significantly larger than us.” This year, Newport’s Joe Cooper will stand in as coach aboard Young American YCC while Becker sails with the Academy’s second entry Gambler, a Reichel/Pugh 63 provided by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation. The team, entered in IRC division, is preparing for next year’s Transatlantic Race and qualifies as both a Youth and Collegiate Entry, the latter of which also has an age requirement for 40% of the crew.

Oakcliff Sailing of Oyster Bay, N.Y. will send no less than three Collegiate teams on Farr 40s that the organization uses for its sailing training programs. “Offshore racing is definitely what I came to do at Oakcliff,” said 24-year-old Brian Reilly (Mahopat, N.Y.) who will skipper Oakcliff Farr 40 Black. “I heard this race is a good time and I should do it.” His friend, the 17-year-old Jo Riley (Marion, Mass.), who will skipper Oakcliff Farr 40 Red, has sailed on a winning boat three times in the Ida Lewis Distance Race. “I definitely like it,” said Riley. “It’s a one-night sprint. You hunker down, go full throttle, and there’s no slacking off.”

Portsmouth, R.I.’s Paul Grimes, who has sailed the event four times on his J/35 Breakaway, hasn’t officially entered as a Collegiate Entry in PHRF division, but he’ll definitely be bringing along some local-area college sailing ringers, including his son Alden Grimes, who sails for Bodin College, Adrian van der Wal (Northeastern), Victoria Boatwright (Georgetown), and Collin Moffett (Princeton).

Newport’s Bill Kneller has skippered in the race every year since 2015 on his J/109 Vento Solare, with friends who sail with him regularly in the Tuesday night Jamestown Yacht Club race series. “We haven’t made the podium yet but are getting better each year,” he said. “Last year we were one of only 20 boats that endured the weather and finished the race.”

In the four-boat Doublehanded division, David Southwell (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) will be sailing the race for the first time in Alchemy, a J/121 that is new to him this year. His crew Stuart MacNeil has never sailed a doublehanded race before and this will only be Southwell’s second time to do so. “I’m preparing for the Bermuda One Two next year by doing shorthanded and solo races and deliveries. We’re really looking forward to this!”

Other defending champions are the father/son team of Stephen Murray Sr. and Stephen Murray Jr. (Metairie, Louisiana) aboard the Volvo 70 Warrior, the largest boat in the fleet, and Brian Cunha (Newport, R.I.) aboard the Ker 55 Irie 2.

Ida Lewis Yacht Club will host the skipper’s meeting and social on Thursday, August 16. A Sunset Awards Party at the club will celebrate the conclusion of racing on Saturday, August 18.

Sonny, winner of the Panerai Watch (Photo © George Bekris)

 

The 38th edition of the Marblehead Classic Yacht Regatta ran August 10th-12th at the Marblehead Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA.  The Yacht club was founded in 1885  and was the perfect setting for the beautiful classic yachts. The race teams enjoyed the hospitality, parties and commaradie that is traditional among classic yacht racers.

Tough racing was called for Saturday for rain and lack of wind the sailors in this year’s Marblehead Classic Yacht Regatta were relieved when the rains let up and the sky cleared on Sunday. The Sunday conditions were favorable to get some racing in and the yachtsmen could not have been happier to get out on the course and get things moving.

The one-day race featured staggered starts, so that the smaller fleets like the International One Design and the schooners like the 128-foot “Altair” and the 160-foot “Columbia” could finish on corrected time – around the same time – and this was the case as the entire 50-strong fleet headed straight for the mouth of Marblehead Harbor on Sunday afternoon just off the lighthouse.

In the schooner fleet, the win in the Vintage Grand Classic went to the 63-foot schooner “When and If” with “Altair” second and the Schooner Columbia third.

The win was all in the family, however as the captain of the Schooner Columbia Seth Saltzman is the owner of the “When and If,” and his younger brother Dylan is her captain.

In the Vintage Corinthian Yacht – Spinnaker Division – first place went to the Sparkman & Stephens designed “Sonny,”  and the New York 32 “Siren,” who won the non-spinnaker division.

The Nathaniel Herreshoff designed Buzzard’s Bay 25 “Resolute,” won took first in the Grand Prix Yachts non-spinnaker fleet.

The 12-metre “Valiant,” owned by Gary Gregory of Marblehead won in the Grand Prix Yachts Spinnaker Division.

North American Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge begins with the following result at the end of the Marblehead weekend:

2018 Final Full Race Results (PDF Format)
2018 Results by Panerai Class Only (PDF Format)
2018 Order of Finish (PDF format)
2018 Series Results (PDF format)

View more photos of the event by George Bekris at Marblehead Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta 2018

That’s a wrap to a great event and the classics will continue throughout New England during August and September.

 

 

Alex Thomson brought his IMOCA 60 HUGO BOSS to New York for his final stop of a North American Tour.  This was his first stop in New York since the 2016 New York Vendée race.

Having previously set the monohull singlehanded 24 hour distance record of 536.8 miles in just 24 hours in 2017 Thomson has set his eyes on the prize again with a new upcoming new boat for the next Vendée Globe Race.

Challenge and Adventure’s photographer George Bekris was onboard for an afternoon of sailing with Thomson on the Hudson beneath the New York City skyline. They put the foiling IMOCA 60 through her paces sailing from  North Cove Marina in Battery Park down past the Statue of Liberty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The commuters on the Staten Island Ferry got a bird’s eye view of the race boat as she sped past them down the harbor.

 

 

Once returning to the UK Alex Thomson Racing will be proceeding with plans for a new IMOCA 60 race boat. The new HUGO BOSS will be constructed by Carrington Boats.

For more information and to keep up with ongoing racing visit Alex Thomson Racing

 

Draken Harald Hårfagre Expedition America – East Coast Tour 2018 started July 9 by Draken leaving Mystic Seaport, CT, to head for the ship’s first stopover. During the tour Draken will visit 14 harbors across the East Coast of the U.S. spanning from Maine to South Carolina.

Challenge and Adventure was onhand to watch her leave Mystic Seaport enroute to her first stop in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

Welcome the Draken Village during the ship’s stopover. Let our crew members take you on a deck tour, visit our exhibition and souvenir shop, enjoy a screening of the new Draken documentary film Expedition America – a modern Viking Adventure and come and listen to Captain Björn Ahlanders lecture about the adventurous expeditions.

 

 

East Coast Tour Schedule

Boothbay Harbor, ME July 13-15
Plymouth, MA July 17-20
Rockland, ME July 22-25
Portland, ME July 27-23

For other stopovers later in the summer check at https://www.drakenhh.com/east-coast-tour-2018

 

 

For more information about the ship and crew check out all of the information about the Draken at  https://www.drakenhh.com

 

 

The Dodge Brothers on the auction block at Barrett-Jackson Northeast 2018 (Photo © George Bekris )

The Dodge Brothers on the auction block at Barrett-Jackson Northeast 2018 (Photo © George Bekris )

UNCASVILLE, CONN. – June 25, 2018 – Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions®, delivered another incredible record-breaking automotive celebration during its 3rd Annual Northeast Auction, June 20-23, 2018, at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. During the four-day event, 662 vehicles crossed the block with a 99.25 percent sell through rate, selling for more than $24.9 million, while 457 pieces of automobilia brought in over $832,000. Barrett-Jackson also fueled support for charity by raising $1.245 million from the sale of five vehicles, including the historic sale of Dodge’s last production 2017 Viper and 2018 Challenger SRT Demon for $1 million. In total, Barrett-Jackson set a Northeast Auction sales record, reaching nearly $27 million in total sales.

Bill Goldberg (Photo © George Bekris)

Celebrities, including actor and pro wrestler Bill Goldberg, NBA star Ray Allen, NFL player Barkevious Mingo and comedian Jeff Ross were on-site to join in the high-octane auction action. Barrett-Jackson’s Super Saturday was full of adrenaline-filled fun and included a stop from goldRush Rally as they kicked off their 10th Anniversary Rally, which will stop in 10 cities over 10 days across the United States. The rally is comprised of some of the most passionate auto enthusiasts driving the most spectacular supercars on the planet, and this was the first time in goldRush’s history that the rally stopped at a collector car auction during their epic drives.
Craig Barrett (Photo © George Bekris)

Craig Barrett (Photo © George Bekris)

Last Production Dodge Demon unveiling (Photo © George Bekris)

Last Production Dodge Demon unveiling (Photo © George Bekris)

 

“Once again the energy and passion at our Northeast Auction has been incredible to experience this past week,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “We kicked off the event in a big way on Family Value Day with the historic unveil of the last production 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon (Lot #3002.1) in Mohegan Sun’s spectacular new Expo Center. The next three days continued to ramp up with hundreds of collectible vehicles and automobilia pieces, Ride ’N Drives, Thrill Rides and interactive exhibits. We were honored to be the first collector car auction to host the goldRush Rally, and Saturday was also highlighted by the charity sales of the last production Dodge Viper and last Demon, along with a 35th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette to help support our yearlong Driven Hearts charity initiative. It was truly an electric weekend and we thank all of our guests for making it such a memorable auction.”
The top 10 vehicles sold during the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction included:
  1. 1967 Chevrolet Nova Custom Coupe “The Innovator” (Lot #687) – $275,000
  2. 1967 Shelby GT500E Super Snake (Lot #667) – $210,000
  3. 2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost (Lot #685) – $203,500 *Record
  4. 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon (Lot #650) – $198,000
  5. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS454 LS6 (Lot #670) – $172,700
  6. 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird (Lot #671) – $170,500
  7. 1965 Chevrolet Corvette 396/425 Convertible (Lot #680) – $170,500
  8. 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia (Lot #686) – $170,500
  9. 1970 Dodge Charger R/T Custom Coupe (Lot #689) – $156,800
  10. 1960 Chevrolet Corvette 283/250 Convertible (Lot #665.1) – $144,100
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Charity sales took center stage during the Northeast Auction with the sale of five vehicles that raised a total of $1.245 million. Pro wrestler Bill Goldberg was on the block to amp up excitement for the last-production models of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon (Lot #3002.1) and 2017 Dodge Viper (Lot #3002). The pair crossed the block on Saturday and together hammered in for $1 million to benefit the United Way. The $100,000 buy fee was donated to Barrett-Jackson’s year long Driven Hearts campaign supporting the American Heart Association. On Saturday evening, a ’88 Corvette 35th Anniversary Edition (Lot #3003) sold for $60,000 benefitting the American Heart Association. On Friday, a ’71 Corvette Sting Ray (Lot #3000) sold to benefit The Klingberg Family Centers and a ’70 Chevrolet C10 Pickup (Lot #3001) sold to benefit the American Red Cross.
“It’s rewarding to be a part of the enthusiasm of the automotive community across the Northeast,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “We’ve been so blessed to have this community behind us over the last three years, which includes their tremendous support of our charity efforts. With the generous support of our consignors and bidders, we have helped raise nearly $104 million to date for people across the country, from all ages and walks, live healthier and more meaningful lives. We’re so grateful to be a part of the good that comes from helping those in need.”
Automobilia was an integral part of the Barrett-Jackson experience during the 3rd Annual Northeast Auction and set a three-day auction record for total sales, selling 457 pieces that offered something for every type of collector and enthusiast. Automobilia sales soared to over $832,000, with the following top five sales:
  1. Late 1960s US Air Force Promotional Jet Shaped Go-Kart (Lot #8288) – $28,175
  2. 1950s Mobil Oil left-facing porcelain Pegasus neon sign (Lot #8297) – $28,175
  3. Hand-Built 1/3-Scale 1956 Corvette SR Prototype Go-Kart (Lot #8268) – $27,600
  4. 1950s Mobil Oil right-facing porcelain Pegasus neon sign (Lot #8298) – $25,875
  5. 1940s Chrysler-Plymouth single-sided neon porcelain sign (Lot #8294) – $23,000
Barrett-Jackson’s 2018 Las Vegas Auction is September 27-29, 2018, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. To submit an application to consign at the 2018 Las Vegas Auction, click here. For information on becoming a bidder, go to www.Barrett-Jackson.com/bid. Also, follow Barrett-Jackson on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter for the latest news and information heading into the 2018 Las Vegas Auction.
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Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 10, on board Turn the Tide on Plastic. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race. 19 December, 2017.

The Volvo Ocean Race Science Programme reached a significant milestone when the race completed a global circumnavigation following its arrival into Cardiff, Wales in May 2018, eight months after departing from Alicante, Spain.

Out of a total of 68 samples taken during the course of the Volvo Ocean Race, only two, collected south of Australia and east of Argentina, have been found to contain no microplastics.

The most recent data, taken from sub-surface seawater samples collected on board Team AkzoNobel and Turn the Tide on Plastic boats, found 75 particles of microplastics per cubic metre in one taken off the US coast following the stopover in Newport, Rhode Island.

Levels of 73 and 76 particles of microplastics per cubic metre were recorded as the boats headed towards the mid-Atlantic. These could be connected to the edge of the North Atlantic garbage patch, one of five ocean ‘gyres’, estimated to be hundreds of kilometres across in size.

In the mid-Atlantic, 63 particles of microplastics per cubic metre were recorded, while close to Cardiff, levels were slightly higher with 65 particles of microplastics per cubic metre found.

Earlier in the race, in the Southern Ocean, close to Point Nemo the furthest point from land on Earth, there were between nine and 26 particles of microplastic per cubic metre. Close to Antarctic waters in the South Indian Ocean levels of microplastics were as high as 25 particles per cubic metre

The highest levels of microplastic found so far, 349 particles per cubic metre were found in a sample taken in the South China Sea that feeds into the Kurushio Current and the North Pacific Gyre. The next highest levels, 307 particles per cubic metre, were found at the point where the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet.

The microplastic samples were analysed by members of the Volvo Ocean Race scientific consortium in Kiel, Germany.  The data is then uploaded to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) microplastics database where scientists are able to access it open source.

Dr. Toste Tanhua of GEOMAR Institute for Ocean Research Kiel, funded by the Cluster of Excellence Future Ocean, carried out the analysis and is presenting the findings at the Volvo Ocean Race Ocean Summit in The Hague, Netherlands on Thursday 28th June.

Dr. Tanhua said: He said: Thanks to the great cooperation of the Volvo Ocean Race and the teams on the water, we have been able to collect a very valuable and unique data set during the race which we have been able to share with the wider scientific community. Unfortunately, almost all the samples contained microplastics, meaning that the plastics are carried with ocean currents to the most remote parts of the world’s oceans.”

The series of seven Ocean Summits have convened key stakeholders at race stopovers where announcements by governments, business and a range of organisations, have resulted in significant steps to help tackle the global ocean plastic crisis.

The latest samples were collected on the 3,300 nautical mile leg from Newport to Cardiff. The boats also collect other oceanographic data measurements including temperature, dissolved CO2, salinity, algae content (as chlorophyll) that gives an indication of levels of ocean health and acidification.

Volvo Ocean Race boats are also collecting data that is essential for forecasting of future weather and climate changes, in both the short and long term. This is already being utilised by the World Meteorological Organisation and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

 Anne-Cecile Turner, Sustainability Programme Leader for the Volvo Ocean Race, added: “The race has now come full circle and the fact that just two of the samples didn’t contain microplastics clearly shows how pervasive they have become.

“The collation of a complete data set by this elite scientific consortium is of exceptional value and provides an historic legacy and clear benchmark for our future understanding of the world’s oceans and climate.”

Microplastics are often invisible to the naked eye and can take thousands of years to degrade. By collecting information on their levels, the Science Programme is helping scientists gain insight into the scale of plastic pollution and its impact upon marine life.

Microplastics in our ocean preliminary data

The Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Programme is a partnership in collaboration with Sustainability Partners 11th Hour Racing, the Mirpuri Foundation and our other main partners, Volvo, AkzoNobel, Ocean Family Foundation, Stena Recycling and Bluewater. The Turn the Tide on Plastic boat is, furthermore, supported the by Sky Ocean Rescue.

The Volvo Ocean Race Science Programme is funded by Volvo Cars, who are donating €100 from first 3,000 sales of the new Volvo V90 Cross Country Volvo Ocean Race edition to support the initiative.

Stuart Templar, Director of Sustainability at Volvo Cars, said: “This ground breaking programme has provided invaluable data on the health of our oceans, particularly the global extent of the problem of marine plastic pollution.

“It’s clear that the time for inaction is over, and it’s the responsibility of all of us, including industry, to both make better use of plastic and say no to single use plastic. Volvo Cars is proud to have supported the programme and we would like to thank all those involved, especially The Turn The Tide On Plastic and AkzoNobel crews, as well as the excellent team at GEOMAR.”

At the Ocean Summit in Newport, Volvo Cars stated that they would be removing all single use plastic items from their offices, restaurants and events by the end of 2019. In Gothenburg, they announced that from 2025, at least 25% of the plastic in newly launched Volvos would be made from recycled material.

To further our understanding of the issues connected to plastics the Sustainability Programme is conducting a post race workshop with key global stakeholders from science, academia, the private sector and other institutions to explore the theme: ‘’From micro to nano plastic pollution: the current situation and our knowledge gaps.

UN Environment #CleanSeas campaign, which partners with the Race, aims to encourage governments, businesses and individuals to make changes in their own lives to reduce their plastic footprint.

Grundoon, Jim Grundy, St. David's Lighthouse Trophy; Glenn Family at prize giving Nic Douglass - AdventuresofaSailorGirl.com)

Grundoon, Jim Grundy, St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy; Glenn Family at prize giving Nic Douglass – AdventuresofaSailorGirl.com)

 

The St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy, and 100-plus more awards were presented to conclude the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race.

(Hamilton, Bermuda, June 24, 2018)—His Excellency, the Governor of Bermuda, John Rankin, hosted the Newport Bermuda Race Prize-Giving on Saturday, welcoming hundreds of guests to the grounds of Government House and assisting with the presentation of more than 100 awards. It was a diverse, multi-generational group of sailors who came forward to receive prizes from the Governor and Jon Corless, commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and Brad Willauer, commodore of the Cruising Club of America. James Macdonald, the RBYC Honourable Secretary, served as master of ceremonies, presenting the entire nine-page prize list.

Jim Grundy’s Grundoon won the famous St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy for the best corrected time in the largest division of 85 boats. Sailing with one daughter and two sons in the crew, Grundy, of Doylestown, Penn., made off with half a dozen other trophies including the William L. Glenn Family Participation Prize and the Dorade Trophy for vintage yachts over 25 years old. Grundy’s father purchased Grundoon, a Columbia 50, in 1968.

Wizard, a Volvo Ocean 70 owned by the Askew brothers, won the other lighthouse trophy—the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy. Finishing first on corrected time among the highest-performance boats of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, the Askews picked up their second major win in six months following a victory at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race last December. David and Peter Askew are from Sandy, Utah and Riderwood, Md., respectively. There were 22 entries in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division.

Orca, an Island Packet 38 owned by Harold and Mary Guidotti, of Westbrook, Conn., won the Finisterre Division of 40 boats and received the Carleton Mitchell Finisterre Trophy. The trophy is named for the three-time winning skipper and his boat, which coincidentally was also 38 feet long.

More trophy presentation photos (all credits Nic Douglass – AdventuresofaSailorGirl.com) clockwise from top left: Yankee Girl, Zachary Lee, Philip S. Weld Prize; E. Llwyd Ecclestone, Jr., Bermuda Race Roll of Honour; Eric Best, Feo, Cook’s Award; Dreamcatcher, Mudratz team, Stephens Brothers Youth Trophy.Complete results are on the Newport Bermuda Race website where the full prize list will be posted shortly. View the online version of this release.

Trophy presentation photos (all credits Nic Douglass – AdventuresofaSailorGirl.com) clockwise from top left: Grundoon, Jim Grundy, St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy; Grundoon, Jim Grundy and family, William L. Glenn Family Participation Prize; OrcaFinisterre Trophy, Harold Guidotti; Wizard, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy, Peter Askew.

Yankee Girl won the Philip S. Weld Prize for the best corrected time in the 15-boat Double-Handed Division. Skipper Zachary Lee of Vineyard Haven, Mass., accepted the prize, and his crew Leif Counter, of Pelham, N.Y., received the Moxie Prize, which is awarded in recognition of the other half of the winning double-handed crew.

The Swan 48 Dreamcatcher won the Stephens Brothers Youth Prize for the best performance by a youth division crew, with most of the crew between the ages of 14 and 23. The boat was entered in the race by the Mudratz, a youth-sailing non-profit organization in Eastern Connecticut.

Completing his 23rd Newport Bermuda Race, E. Llwyd Ecclestone, Jr., of West Palm Beach, Fla., was recognized at the Prize-Giving as a new member of the Bermuda Race Roll of Honour. Reflecting on his long-time crew and years of sailing together, Ecclestone offered their three rules of offshore sailing: “Eat well, respect the watch system, and there are no heroes on the boat.”

Eric Best of Feo received the Cook’s Award for perseverance and fortitude in cooking for a racing crew longer than anyone else in the race. Skippered by Best’s daughter, Isabel, the steel Joshua 47 Feo finished in 146 hours, 54 minutes, 17 seconds, a little more than 96 hours after Rambler 88 became the first boat to finish the race.

Dongfeng Race Team (Photo © George Bekris)

Dongfeng Race Team (Photo © George Bekris)

The Chinese-flagged Dongfeng Race Team has won the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18…
Dongfeng Race Team has won the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 in the closest finish in race history.
Skipper Charles Caudrelier led his team to victory on the final leg of the race, a 970-mile sprint from Gothenburg, Sweden to The Hague.
Incredibly, it marked the first leg win for the team — it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Three teams started Leg 11 of the race on Thursday in a dead heat on the overall leaderboard. The finishing order between MAPFRE, Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team at The Hague would determine their place on the overall race podium.

Each of those three teams led at various points on the leg and had their opportunities to grab the prize.

But it was Caudrelier and his crew who made a bold call on Saturday evening to take a coastal route to the finish, which squeezed them tight against the shoreline and separated from the other leaders by a series of Exclusion Zones.

“We were not in such a good position, but we trusted our choice and we pushed,” Caudrelier said. “The others didn’t follow us, but we believed and we won…”

The decision hurt the team in the short term as they tumbled down the leaderboard. But by Sunday morning, with less than 100 miles left to race, weather routing projections had the top boats finishing within minutes of each other. None had been able to break away overnight, despite the significant splits on the race course.

“We knew that we would fall behind initially and that if it came good it would only be at the end. The last position report (1300 UTC on Sunday) we were 27-miles from the finish and they were 20-miles and we thought it was over. But then I did a small weather routing and it showed we could end up one-mile ahead so I woke everyone up and said, ‘let’s push!’”

As the teams finally converged again on Sunday afternoon, just a few miles from the finish, it was Dongfeng Race Team, flying down the coast from the north sliding in front of the offshore group, to earn their first leg win, propelling Caudrelier’s team to overall victory.

“We always trusted each other. Nobody thought we were going to win this last leg, but I had a good feeling,” an emotional Caudrelier said, after thanking his supporters and team. “I said ‘we can’t lose, we can’t lose, we can’t lose’… and we won!”

The overall results make this the closest finish in the 45-year history of the race and marks the first win for a Chinese-flagged team. It also means Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou were on board as the first women sailors to win the Volvo Ocean Race.

Xabi Fernández’s MAPFRE was third on the leg, which put the team into second overall.

“It has been tough,” Fernández admitted. “We sailed very well the whole way around the world and on this leg as well, so naturally we’re a bit disappointed. We were very, very close this time, but it was not quite enough. So we have to say congratulations to Dongfeng who sailed a little bit better than us.”

Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking would have liked nothing more than to win the race for the first time in eight tries with a home finish in The Netherlands. But it wasn’t to be. His fourth place leg finish left the team in third place overall.

“Third place, still on the podium, I think we can be pretty proud of that as a team,” he said. “We thought we had made the right choice (to go further offshore) and we expected a windshift. It came 90-minutes too late and that was the race. But that’s yacht racing. And of course we have to congratulate Dongfeng and MAPFRE for their results.”

Second place on the final leg into The Hague was Dutch skipper Simeon Tienpont and his team AkzoNobel, who had previously secured fourth place on the overall leaderboard.

“It’s incredible to finish on the podium in our hometown,” Tienpont said. “We would have loved to have been fighting into The Hague for the final podium but to have set the 24-hour speed record and to get six podium finishes in the race is a testament to the job everyone on our team – on the boat and on shore – have done.”

Vestas 11th Hour Racing had already been locked into fifth place on the scoreboard and after a promising start to Leg 11, had a disappointing seventh place finish on the leg.

“We have a great group of folks on this team,” skipper Charlie Enright said. “We’ve been through a lot and I’m not sure any other group could have dealt with the challenges we have faced the way we did. It’s something special and we’re going to continue to work together moving forward. This was a tough way to go out certainly, but we have one more opportunity with the In-Port Race this weekend.”

That In-Port Race, scheduled for Saturday afternoon, will determine the sixth and seventh place positions in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Both SHK/Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic finished the Volvo Ocean Race on equal points.

The tie-break mechanism is the In-Port Race Series, where David Witt’s Scallywag team currently holds the lead. But Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic is just three points behind and a strong finish on Saturday could lift them off the bottom of the leaderboard.

“We can’t help but smile today. We’ve done it,” said Caffari. “This leg was like the longest In-Port Race ever. A lot of corners to go around, and we gave it 100 per cent and left nothing in the tank.”

For David Witt, the finish was bittersweet the loss of John Fisher overboard in the Southern Ocean top of mind.

“I have very mixed emotions right now,” Witt said dockside immediately after finishing. “I’m incredibly proud of our team both on and off the water. We’re very tight and we have gone through a lot… But I’m also sad of course. I didn’t finish it with my best mate (John Fisher) who we started with. So very mixed emotions, but I’m glad we finished it.”

The teams will celebrate their accomplishments and take well-earned rest on Monday. The rest of the week will see activities in The Hague building towards the final In-Port Race and Awards Night on June 30.

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 11 Final Leaderboard — Saturday 23 June
1. Dongfeng Race Team – 3 days, 3 hours, 22 minutes, 32 seconds
2. team AkzoNobel – 3 days, 3 hours, 38 minutes, 31 seconds
3. MAPFRE – 3 days, 3 hours, 39 minutes, 25 seconds
4. Team Brunel – 3 days, 3 hours, 45 minutes, 52 seconds
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 3 days, 3 hours, 56 minutes, 56 seconds
6. SHK / Scallywag – 3 days, 4 hours, 01 minutes, 32 seconds
7. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 3 days, 4 hours, 05 minutes, 36 seconds

Volvo Ocean Race Overall Points Leaderboard after Leg 11
1. Dongfeng Race Team – 73 points
2. MAPFRE – 70 points
3. Team Brunel – 69 points
4. team AkzoNobel – 59 points
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 39 points
6. SHK / Scallywag – 32 points *
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 32 points *

* 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.