With the Mirabaud Bol d’Or now behind them and the Maxi Trimaran ready for competition, the Spindrift Racing Team is back in training mode, and Yann Guichard and his crew have today set off to complete a Transatlantic passage between two world sailing hub – La Trinite’-Sur-Mer in Brittany and Newport, Rhode Island, USA.

The crew of twelve met at Spindrift racing’s base in St Philibert on Friday 15 June and a few hours later, left for their 3000-mile training sail between France and the United States. While the Atlantic is well known to all of the sailors onboard, it provides a great place to train as it offers constantly varied and changing weather situations. In this way the crew will have an excellent opportunity to, once again get back into the rhythm of sailing the world’s largest trimaran as the team prepares for their upcoming Jules Verne Trophy attempt.

The benefits of getting back out on the water and sailing for a longer period are not lost on Yann Guichard: “In sailing, you continue to learn, from the first day through to the last, and the more we sail the better we will get. A transatlantic can be a very effective exercise, and offers much more than single training days in the bay of Quiberon. Sailing these longer passages allows us to set goals for the longer term, to strengthen our teamwork and especially to get some sea miles under our belt.

However, there is a double objective to this crossing. The first is team oriented: “This is not the final crew for the Jules Verne but a transat offers us the opportunity to test new people whose profile can bring something to a world record attempt. I place a lot of importance on team work and my choice of crew, and it is important that any new recruit fits in with the group as a whole. We are sailing with 12 crew, which includes seven sailors that form the core of Spindrift racing and who have been with me almost since the beginning,” commented Yann.

The second objective is “to get as much data and analytics from Spindrift 2 in her new configuration as possible. This year, she has been fitted with her original mast that we shortened and adapted for the 2014 Route du Rhum. As the mast is smaller than our previous one, the team will have to adapt and make some changes in how we sail. So far we have not sailed much with our new rig, so by adapting both technically and physically, we can be as prepared as possible for the challenge that awaits us at the end of the year,” explained the skipper.

With the black and gold team now enroute, it is expected that they will sail south towards the Canaries so as to “find the conditions that are as similar as possible to the reaching conditions that we would find on a World tour,” concluded Yann.

Spindrift 2 is expected to arrive in Newport on about 23 June.

The Rhode Island National Guard Open House Air Show comes to Quonset this weekend. Admission is free, and the gates open at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The flying starts at 11. The Blue Angels are back for this year’s show. Here are all the performers, according to the show’s website.

Rhode Island National Guard Airshow 2017 ( Photo © George Bekris )

Rhode Island National Guard Airshow 2017 ( Photo © George Bekris )

Who’s Flying

USN Blue Angels
USAF F-35 Heritage Flight Team
US Naval Academy Jump Team
Sean D. Tucker
Mike Goulian
Geico Skytypers
Ace Maker Air Shows T-33
Mark Murphy P-51D Mustang Demo
F4U Corsair Demo
TBM Avenger Demo
Shockwave Jet Truck
C-130J Super Hercules

 

Rhode Island National Guard Airshow 2017 ( Photo © George Bekris )

Rhode Island National Guard Airshow 2017 ( Photo © George Bekris )

How To Get There

Once again, the state is offering free train rides to the show. The trains leave from Providence (100 Gaspee St.) North Kingstown (Wickford Junction Station, 1011 Ten Road Road) and T.F. Green Airport (700 Jefferson Blvd,) in Warwick.

By car, parking is free but a $10 donation is encouraged. There is also parking for Recreational Vehicles.

By plane, see the “fly-in” directions on the air show’s website.

Rules

No pets, except for service animals.

No coolers, but food is allowed.

No drones.

No lounge chairs (but lawn chairs, blankets and umbrellas are ok).

Cameras and video cameras are ok.

 

Larry and Jan Pfitzenmaier brought their Cunningham C-4R ( Photo © George Bekris )

Larry and Jan Pfitzenmaier brought their Cunningham C-4R ( Photo © George Bekris )

Greenwich Connecticut was buzzing with activity this weekend with the 2018 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. The annual event draws attendees from all over the world for a glimpse on some of the rarest of the rare in the automotive industry and is a Northeastern USA must see for many automobile aficionados and collectors.

The 2018 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance Best of Show winners!

© George Bekris

© George Bekris

International Best of Show Sport was the 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Spider Scaglietti of Scuderia N.E.

 

© George Bekris

© George Bekris

International Best of Show Elegance was the 1935 SS1 Tourer belonging to Colin Seid and Richard Annis.

 

© George Bekris

© George Bekris

American Best of Show Elegance was the 1934 Packard Convertible Victoria of Judge Joseph & Margie Cassini, III.

Saturday was the Concours Americana featuring domestic autos and motorcycles. Warm and sunny skies made a perfect day for the crowds of admirers to enjoy the various vintage auto and motorcycles. Saturday included a ring of American and Foreign modern supercars.

 

 

Sunday was the International Concours with rings full of Jaguars, Ferraris, Bentleys, MG’s, Triumphs and numerous other makes and models. There was something for every taste.

It was a beautiful weekend for a rare gathering of Briggs Cunningham automobiles highlighted at this year’s Greenwich Concours. It was an amazing feat to gather so many of the autos in one place for the show. There were 37 original Briggs Cunningham autos produced. Out of the 37 that were made there are now only 35 survivors. The owners of the 35 survivors were invited by the Greenwich Concours officials and 33 of those attended the event. I don’t think this milestone will be repeated anytime soon. For instance one couple brought their Cunningham C-4R 2,500 miles from Arizona not sure if the weather would cooperate but taking the chance anyway in order to attend this largest gathering of Cunninghams.

There was a variety of different Cunninghams, from convertibles and coupes to Corvettes as well as a 1962 Maserati Tipo 151 straight in from racing at Monaco two weeks ago. Jay Leno entered his 1953 Cunningham C3. It was an amazing sight to seen them lined up along the waterfront gleaming in the sun.

 

 

The 12 metre America’s Cup yacht Columbia, which Briggs Cunningham was winning skipper of in the 1958 America’s Cup, was at the Delamar Hotel docks next to the concours grounds charter guests enjoyed the sailing on the Long Island sound off of Greenwich.

Bonhams returned to Greenwich, CT for its twelfth annual Greenwich Concours d’Elegance Auction on Sunday, June 3rd. Greenwich being less than an hour from New York City drew a large crowd for it’s weekend of premier offerings from barn finds and automobilia to totally restored rare gleaming and historically significant autos. There was also an opportunity to bid on one of two dozen cars from the late Carroll Shelby’s personal collection.

The weekend was a complete success and it’s a wrap until next year. This is an event not to be missed.

( Photo © George Bekris )

( Photo © George Bekris )

Original Cunningham race and street cars, cars of John Fitch, Jaguar SS Cars and Competition Motorcycles to be featured

GREENWICH, Conn.    Recognized as one of the most prestigious classic car shows in the United States, the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance will celebrate its 23rd year of showcasing significant cars, motorcycles and one-off automotive creations on June 1-3, 2018. Production and race cars created in the 1950s by the iconic Briggs Cunningham will headline the entire weekend.

The Concours continues its tradition of holding two unique Concours back-to-back, with American cars and motorcycles on Saturday, and foreign marques on Sunday. The event takes place at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park overlooking the Greenwich, Conn., harbor on Long Island Sound.

Miles Collier, one of America’s premier car collectors, and founder of The Revs Institute, has been named the Grand Marshal for this year’s event. The Revs Institute in Naples, Fla., includes the Collier Collection, with 115 automobiles of special historic and technological importance. Many were acquired from the collection of the late Briggs Cunningham, a family friend. The Institute, which fosters deeper understanding of the transformative role of the automobile, also includes the Revs Digital Library of about 500,000 automotive photographs, with emphasis on racing scenes, and a research library with over 20,000 book titles and complete runs of automotive periodicals in English, French, Italian and German. https://revsinstitute.org

The display of Cunningham cars from around the country is being organized by “Barn Find Hunter” Tom Cotter of Charlotte, N.C., and Cunningham collector and historian Charles Schoendorf, of Rowayton, Conn. Lined up along the waterfront both days will be the 1952 C-4R Le Mans roadster from the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, and most of the 25 Vignale-bodied C-3 coupes and cabriolets.

“This will be the most comprehensive collection of Cunningham race cars, touring cars and team cars assembled at one time and place, ever, including at the factory,” says Schoendorf. “A turnout of cars like this will not happen any time soon again, if ever.”

Cunningham, who died in 2003 at the age of 96, is best known as an America’s Cup skipper, race-car builder, driver and team owner. He made the Greens Farms section of Westport, Conn., his home from the ’20s through the ’60s. He fielded his early race cars for Sam and Cowles “Miles” Collier out of his carriage house, and later kept his car collection there before moving it out of state. The Cunningham family remained at the Greens Farms compound until the death of his daughter Lucie Cunningham McKinney in 2014.

On Saturday, cars from one of Cunningham’s most notable race-car drivers, the late John Fitch, of Lime Rock, Conn., will also be on display. A highly-respected driver of the ’50s and ’60s, Fitch was also a safety pioneer and a World War II fighter pilot. The 1966 Fitch Phoenix, owned by Charles Mallory, of Greenwich, Conn., will be part of the display, along with the 1952 Fitch-Whitmore Le Mans Special.

Sunday’s Concours will host a special display of Jaguars, with a focus on the rare pre-war SS Cars. The SS 100, SS 90, SS 1 Tourer and SS 1 Coupe are all scheduled to be shown.

The weekend will also feature the presentation of A Century of Competition Motorcycles by American Iron Magazine publisher Buzz Kanter, of New Canaan, Conn., which will showcase race bikes of various styles from the early 1900s to the present. “I’ve heard motorcycle racing started when the first motorcycle rider came across another on the road. And it’s been full throttle ever since,” Kanter says.

“This year’s Concours promises to be one of the best displays of cars and motorcycles ever,” says Concours Chairman Mary Wennerstrom. “We have collectors coming from all over North America, including Canada, nearly half of the 50 states and, of course, Connecticut. It is very exciting to have so many people in the collector car world gathering in Greenwich! And we are honored to have Miles Collier serve as our Grand Marshal.”

The beneficiary of the Greenwich Concours for the 23rd year is Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization that responds to people affected by poverty or disaster with life-changing health programs, medicine and medical supplies. The Stamford, Conn.-based organization is the world’s leading nonprofit provider of donated medicine and medical supplies.

VIP tickets are available on a limited basis. VIP Tickets include early entry at 8 a.m., breakfast and lunch with the car collectors and judges, entrance to the Bonhams cocktail party on Friday night, poster, lapel pin, program and VIP lanyard.

• Gates open at 10 a.m. for general admission, 8 a.m. for VIP ticket holders

• Advance tickets for both days are available at $30 per day or $50 for both days

  • Tickets purchased on the day of the event are $40 per day or $60 for both days• Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult• VIP Admission is $150 per day or $250 for both days• SaturdayNight Gala tickets are available for $175• Tickets can be purchased at http://www.greenwichconcours.com/visitors/tickets/

Official unveiling of the OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black "Volvo Ocean Race" Limited Edition timepiece (Photo © George Bekris)

Official unveiling of the OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black “Volvo Ocean Race” Limited Edition timepiece (Photo © George Bekris)

As the Official Timekeeper of the Volvo Ocean Race, OMEGA has been keeping a precise eye on this year’s action at sea. The sailors have now stopped in Newport, Rhode Island, to complete Leg 8 of the race, and OMEGA celebrated the moment by unveiling its newly-designed winner’s watch.

The Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black “Volvo Ocean Race” Limited Edition by OMEGA (Photo © George Bekris)

The Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black “Volvo Ocean Race” Limited Edition by OMEGA (Photo © George Bekris)

 The Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black “Volvo Ocean Race” Limited Edition will be presented to the winning team of this year’s race when it concludes in The Hague in June. The timepiece will also be available publicly, but only 73 models have been created overall (in tribute to the year that the Ocean Race first began).

 Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of OMEGA, recently spoke about the watch and said, “OMEGA has loved following this exciting and unique race so far. We wanted our winner’s watch to be as beautifully designed as the boats themselves, and also precise and robust to reflect the tough sailing conditions that the competitors face. I think the ‘Deep Black’ is the perfect way to do this and we’re looking forward to presenting it to the winning team.”

Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of OMEGA, America’s Cup Emirates Team New Zealand’s winning skipper Peter Burling and MAPFRE helmsman and trimmer Blake Tuke at unveiling (Photo © George Bekris)

 The 45.50 mm timepiece is a divers’ chronograph with a black rubber strap, yet its strong design is just as capable of withstanding the extreme pressures of ocean sailing. The casebody has been crafted from black ceramic, while red rubber has been used to cover the first 15 minutes of the unidirectional bezel. Liquidmetal™ then completes the rest of the diving scale.

 

The brushed black ceramic dial includes each Limited Edition number, as well as 18K white gold hour-minute hands and indexes. On the subdial at 3 o’clock, OMEGA has included a red Volvo Ocean Race ring with coloured hands and number 12. Another reference to the event can be found on the oriented caseback, where OMEGA has included the official “Volvo Ocean Race” logo.

OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black being modeled by Blair Tuke (Photo © George Bekris)

OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black being modeled by Blair Tuke (Photo © George Bekris)

Finally, it’s important to note that the winner’s watch reaches the pinnacle of precision, thanks to its OMEGA Master Chronometer calibre 9900. Having passed the 8 rigorous tests set by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), this Master Chronometer certification represents the highest standard of performance in the Swiss watch industry.

Brian Carlin gave the press some insights on life aboard a VOR65 for the Imbedded Media Crew. (Photo © George Bekris)

Brian Carlin gave the press some insights on life aboard a VOR65 for the Embedded Media Crew. (Photo © George Bekris)

Prior to the unveiling Brian Carlin former embedded media crew on Vestas gave the press some insight into the life of they lead on the VOR65. The embedded are not allowed to participate in the sailing other than making coffee which he said can make you popular or unpopular depending on your ability to brew a pot.

The coverage a media member on the team has also changed drastically with this edition of the VOR because of the introduction to drone photography and video coverage.  They now have the ability to shoot photos and video from above and hundreds of feet away from the boat at distances out to sea that in other races was beyond the reach of chase boats and helicopters. For the first time 1500 miles from land in the southern ocean they have the ability to document and stream beautifully composed documentation of the boats at sea. It gives the audience around the world an ability to see what usually a helicopter would only be able to see. That prior to now has always been an impossibility in the VOR and any circumnavigations of the world where the boats travel well offshore. They can also inspect the rigging from above and meters away from the masts and sails for any impending problems or concerns.

I did have one question I asked Brian and that was if they lost any of those new drones to the ocean. He smiled and declined to tell me the number they have lost only that accidents do happen out there. I took that to mean the did loose at least one prior to arriving in Newport. But for the advantages given by having those drones losing a couple is probably an acceptable risk.

One shot I liked in the photo display at the village was by Media crew Jen Edney was a photo of a crew members watch wrapped on a stuffed animal. A little touch of soft comfy home life in comparison to the harsh environment they face daily and no doubt that stuffed animal was looked at numerous times daily to keep track of time.

Stuffed animal timekeeper by embedded Media crew Jen Edney (Photo © George Bekris)

Brian also took the press by photos taken by various embedded media crew during the legs so far. There was a display of prints by each boats media crew and some of their favorite shots.  As you can imagine it’s difficult to be in a 65 by 20 foot space for months at a time and keep the photography fresh and interesting.

 

 

Press conference for the OMEGA unveiling at the Sailor's Terrace in Newport. (Photo © George Bekris)

Press conference for the OMEGA unveiling at the Sailor’s Terrace in Newport. (Photo © George Bekris)

#VOR  #OMEGA #Seamaster #LimitedEdition #SeamasterPlanetOcean #VolvoOceanRace #VolvoOceanRaceNewport #VORnewport

 

The most westerly team in the Antigua Bermuda Race is Arnt Bruhn's German Class40 Iskareen © Ted Martin

The most westerly team in the Antigua Bermuda Race is Arnt Bruhn’s German Class40 Iskareen © Ted Martin

After the first night at sea for the international fleet in the Antigua Bermuda Race the pace is relentless. The leading teams Warrior and Varuna are now over 300 miles offshore, blast reaching through two metre swell in the Atlantic Ocean. Warrior was observed to be hitting a top speed of 25 knots last night. At 1200 UTC on Day Two, the turbo-charged Volvo 70 Warrior, sailed by Stephen Murray Jr. had averaged 18 knots since the start of the race and will achieve a 24 hour run of about 450 miles; well inside record pace. Jens Kellinghusen’s German Ker 56 Varuna is also set for a 400 mile run in 24 hours. Varuna is 30 miles behind Warrior but is estimated to be leading the fleet after IRC time correction.The most easterly of the chasing pack is Giles Redpath’s British Lombard 46 Pata Negra, skippered by Oliver Heer. Pata Negra’s crew include Gareth Glover, two-time skipper in the Clipper Round the World Race and the rest of the crew are all Oliver’s friends from Switzerland, and will be celebrating his 30th birthday today: “I love to sail, but it does take me away from my friends and family, so when I knew I would be at sea for my 30th, what better way to celebrate than with friends racing to Bermuda!” commented Oliver before the race.

The most westerly team is Arnt Bruhn’s German Class40 Iskareen. Arnt has competed in over five transatlantic races, winning his division on numerous occasions. After the Antigua Bermuda Race, Iskareen will compete in the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta, racing 3,900 miles from Bermuda to Hamburg, organised by the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) of which Arnt Bruhns is a member. Arnt will then take part in the solo Route du Rhum Race this November. Of the six German teams racing to Bermuda, Iskareen is second on the water behind Varuna. Sebastian Ropohl’s JV52 Haspa Hamburg and Joachim Brünner’s Andrews 56 Broader View Hamburg are locked into a match race, as are two German Swans; Hanns Ostmeier’s Swan 45 High Yield and Michael Orgzey’s Swan 48 Dantes.

The vast majority of the fleet are to the west of the rhumb line, putting in additional miles to avoid an area of high pressure that is expected to arrive from the northeast tomorrow (Friday 11th May). At the moment, the strategic decision is to decide how far west to go to achieve the best performance. Eric de Turckheim’s French Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine, skippered by Laurent Pages has positioned closer to the rhumb line than the leaders; they will be hoping to stay in good breeze and sail less miles than the leading boats.

For more information visit: https://www.antiguabermuda.com/

Follow the fleet via YB Tracking: http://yb.tl/a2b2018
Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/antiguabermudarace/

@antiguabermudarace
Twitter: #antiguabermuda
@antiguabermudarace
Organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week and supported 
by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Goslings Rum
The turbo-charged American Volvo 70 Warrior, USMMA Sailing Foundation © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

The turbo-charged American Volvo 70 Warrior, USMMA Sailing Foundation © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Skipper Oliver Heer is celebrating his 30th birthday on board Giles Redpath’s British Lombard 46 Pata Negra © Ted Martin
Ribbon cutting for opening of Newport Race Village (Photo © George Bekris)

Ribbon cutting for opening of Newport Race Village (Photo © George Bekris)

 

NEWPORT, RI (May 8, 2018) – A 5,700 nautical mile race leg from Itajai, Brazil to Newport finished off Fort Adams State Park this morning with a come-from-behind win of Leg 8 by MAPFRE in the global Volvo Ocean Race. Just a day ago, MAPFRE was in fifth place. As Tuesday morning dawned in New England and delivered “pea-soup” fog and light winds, MAPFRE inched ahead of Team Brunel, Dongfeng Race Team and Vestas 11th Hour Racing. The final hours were a slow battle for the exhausted sailors as they also were pushed around by the tide and currents near shore, at times even drifting backward.

 

Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport. Arrivals. 08 May (Photo by Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race)

Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport. Arrivals. 08 May (Photo by Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race)

After nearly 16 days of racing, the margin between MAPFRE who finished at 6:44 a.m., and Team Brunel, was only 1-minute and 1-second. The local crowd cheered on all of the race boats that dramatically popped out of the dense fog one-by-one in close succession, but had an especially warm welcome for third-place winners and hometown sailors Charlie Enright (Bristol, RI) and Newport’s Nick Dana and crew onboard Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

“This leg has had its ups and downs,” said Charlie Enright, the skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing. “We didn’t start great, but we feel like we sailed pretty well for the middle two-thirds of the leg. Then with some positive input from some local knowledge, we end up back on the podium which is great.” Newport is a homecoming for Enright and Dana on Vestas 11th Hour Racing as well as for Mark Towill (Hawaii) who did his college sailing at Brown University in nearby Providence, RI. “It’s awesome here,” Enright said. “It’s 0600 local time here, and the amount of boats out is absurd. The amount of effort put in by Sail Newport and the stopover here is amazing.”  The fleet then finished in the order of Dongfeng Race Team, AkzoNobel, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Check the full scoreboard here.

Newport Mayor, the Hon. Harry Winthrop, and Brad Read, exec. dir. of Sail Newport celebrate the ribbon cutting with the Volvo Ocean race Albatross mascot (Photo © George Bekris)

Rhode Island Welcomes the International Event to the City-by-the-Sea In contrast to the morning’s chilly fog finish, the weather improved to a picture-perfect day with sunny skies and warm temperatures for the official kick-off of the Race Village. The backdrop for the opening ceremony was the U.S.C.G. Barque Eagle which arrived and docked next to the race boats earlier this morning.

The Opening Ceremony was launched with an international Parade of Nations with country flags representing sailors’ home countries, carried by local youth. The parade started at the welcome arch and marched past the Team Bases through the Race Village. The U.S.C.G. Navy Band performed as did the Navy Band Northeast.

 

 

Also, salutes were operated by the Newport Artillery Company. The Harris Family Dance Troupe of The Narragansett Tribal Nation performed for the crowds as well. In addition, The Rogers High School Junior ROTC also joined in the opening festivities.

 

 

The Race Village is now open every day through May 20. The full schedule of events is listed on the website.

 

Tomorrow, May 9, the U.S.C.G. Barque Eagle will host free public tours between 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Admission to the Race Village for the entire event. Parking is free tomorrow.

 

Barque Eagle (Photo © George Bekris)

 

Speaker Brad Read, exec. dir. of Sail Newport, opened the ceremony welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race’s only North American Stopover to Newport. He said that the event has been in the planning stages for three years.

 

Brad Read (Photo © George Bekris)

Read also thanked the many non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and city and state agencies and professionals who helped win the original bid for the Stopover in 2015 and plan for today’s opening. Read also recognized the nearly 700 volunteers that will work the event over the next 13 days.

 

 

Governor Gina Raimondo spoke and welcomed the international visitors to the Ocean State and acknowledged the coordination of many state agencies to help welcome the event to Rhode Island. Janet Coit, director of the R.I. Dept. of Environmental Management, Newport Mayor, the Hon. Harry Winthrop, Eagle Captain Matt Meilstrup, Volvo Ocean Race Operations Director Peter Ansell also made welcoming remarks. Dignitaries also attending the ceremony included: Newport City Council Vice Chair, Lynn Underwood.

To follow the racing and events check out the latest at Volvo Ocean Race.

 #VOR #VolvoOceanRace #VolvoOceanRaceNewport #SailNewport #Newport #FortAdams
Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport. Arrivals. 08 May (Photo by Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race)

Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport. Arrivals. 08 May (Photo by Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race)

The Spanish team MAPFRE stunned the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Tuesday morning by stealing a win in Leg 8, with a shocking come-from-behind victory into Newport, Rhode Island.

On Monday, with just 300 miles to go, MAPFRE was in fifth place.

Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport. Arrivals. 08 May (Photo by Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race)

Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport. Arrivals. 08 May
(Photo by Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race)

As Tuesday morning dawned, and with the fleet ghosting towards the finish line in extremely light and shifty winds, Xabi Fernández’s team was among the leading quartet, battling in slow motion with Team Brunel, Dongfeng Race Team and Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

And even when the leaders were just 500 metres from the finish line, MAPFRE was still trailing Team Brunel as the pair emerged from the fog within sight of the spectators at the Fort Adams Race Village.

But on approach to the final turning mark, MAPFRE picked up a zephyr of wind to sneak past Brunel and claim what just moments earlier would have been seen as a very improbable leg win.

“This is unbelievable,” skipper Xabi Fernández admitted 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 has been crazy how much everything has closed up and everyone on board did an amazing job.”

Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel, who had been leading for most of the past week after the equator crossing took a well-deserved second place finish.

Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport, day 17 on board Dongfeng. 08 May, 2018. Kevin and Marie sleeping at the bow, waiting for the finish. (Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race)

Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport, day 17 on board Dongfeng. 08 May, 2018. Kevin and Marie sleeping at the bow, waiting for the finish. (Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race)

Dongfeng Race Team, who had been ahead of the fleet on the approach to the east coast overnight Monday night, suffered the cruellest fate over the final miles.

Every break seemed to go against Charles Caudrelier’s team and after being in position to claim the leg win, the team had to settle for fourth place with Vestas 11th Hour Racing storming past Caudrelier’s crew in the final mile of the leg.

“This leg has had its ups and downs,” said Charlie Enright, the skipper of Vesta 11th Hour Racing. “We didn’t start great but we feel like we sailed pretty well for the middle two-thirds of the leg… Then with some positive input from some local knowledge, we end up back on the podium which is great.”

Newport is a homecoming for Enright and Nick Dana on Vestas 11th Hour Racing as well as Mark Towill who did his college sailing nearby.

“It’s awesome here,” Enright said. “It’s 0600 local time here and the amount of boats out is absurd. The amount of effort put in by Sail Newport and the stopover here is amazing.”

The final hours were painful for the exhausted sailors but extraordinary to watch. With the wind nearly shutting down overnight on the approach to Newport, the fleet found itself pushed around by the tide and currents near shore, at times even drifting backwards, away from the finish line.

This meant there was a high degree of uncertainty. Positions were never secure until the finish line was breached by MAPFRE. No one suffered more in the final miles than Dongfeng’s Caudrelier.

“We’re very disappointed,” he said. “We were dreaming about a victory here… But it makes me angry and I will be better on the next one. I am already focussed on the future and I promise Dongfeng will do a fantastic job on the next one.”

The shocking win by MAPFRE has a huge impact on the overall race leaderboard where MAPFRE has regained the lead from Dongfeng, and now sits three points clear at the head of the table. Brunel retains the third podium position.

The light winds near the finish resulted in a massive compression in the fleet, all the way back to SHK/Scallywag who were trailing the leaders by over 130 miles just one day ago. But as MAPFRE crossed the finish line on Tuesday morning, David Witt’s team was less than 20 miles behind.

Race boats docked at Newport Race Village (Photo by George Bekris)

Race boats docked at Newport Race Village (Photo by George Bekris)

 

Leg 8
Itajaí to Newport
8 May 2018
Positions at: 14:04 UTC
DTL nm GAIN_LOSS STS SPE CO TW T DTF
1 MAPF ARV Elapsed time: 15d 17:44:29
2 TBRU ARV Elapsed time: 15d 17:45:30
3 VS11 ARV Elapsed time: 15d 17:59:04
4 DFRT ARV Elapsed time: 15d 18:25:21
5 AKZO ARV Elapsed time: 15d 19:21:22
6 TTOP ARV Elapsed time: 15d 19:24:14
7 SHKS ARV Elapsed time: 15d 20:56:52
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Extras Total
1 MAPF 6 7 14 4 1 5 6 7 3 53
2 DFRT 5 6 12 6 1 4 12 4 50
3 TBRU 2 4 8 3 1 2 14 6 2 42
4 AKZO 4 3 2 5 1 7 10 3 1 36
5 VS11 7 5 10 0 0 0 0 5 1 28
6 SHKS 3 2 6 7 1 6 0 1 1 27
7 TTOP 1 1 4 2 1 3 8 2 22