A view of a recent Newport Bermuda Race send-off for Class 3 of the St. David’s Lighthouse Division. Photo: Daniel Forster/PPL

The 195 boats that submitted entries before the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race“application for entry” deadline are anchored by the usual excellent turnout of nearly 150 cruiser- and cruiser/racer-style boats sailing in the St. David’s Lighthouse and Finisterre (Cruiser) divisions. The race, which is co-organized by The Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, offers several other divisions for different types of boats and competitors, which truly makes this event seven races in one.

While some pre-start attrition is normal when a fleet faces 635 ocean miles across the Gulf Stream, a diverse fleet of 180 to 190 boats should cross the line on June 15th, crewed by a mix of both professional and amateur sailors. That would make it the biggest fleet since 2010, when 193 boats finished the race.

Among the entries in St. David’s and Finisterre divisions, the 2016 success of youth sailors guided by adult advisors aboard High Noon (link) has led to four entries by youth teams in 2018. There will also be new divisions of Multihulls and Superyachts, which have added seven boats to the fleet, the largest of which is the 112-foot Sparkman & Stephens design, Kawil.

Another key to the high entry total is the 20 boats entered in the Gibbs Hill Division, which is for high-performance racing boats that in many cases are steered and crewed professionally. Recognizing advances in offshore racing technology, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee allowed entry this year by boats carrying water-ballasting systems and certain types of canting keels. In past years, Gibbs Hill typically has drawn 10 to 15 entries; in 2016, based on the high winds forecast in the days before the race, all of the Gibbs Hill entries elected not to compete.

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

“The BROC remains committed to the value of the race as an adventure and participation for its own sake,” says Jonathan Brewin, the event chairman and past commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. “The race is different than many competitions; it’s a chance to compete for an array of permanent trophies and be part of a history going back to 1906,” says Brewin, “but above all it’s a chance to challenge oneself and one’s crew to prepare to compete safely offshore at the highest level.”

 

Newport Bermuda Race Start (Photo by George Bekris)

The introduction of a Multihull Division was three years in development, and based on the standards adopted for 2018, not every multihull will be eligible to compete. Collaborating with an experienced cadre of multihull designers and sailors, the Cruising Club of America’s safety committee developed new ocean-racing safety standards for participating multihulls and set more rigorous safety training requirements than for monohull crews. In addition, the BROC collaborated with the Offshore Racing Association to create a new VPP handicap system for multihulls (ORR-MH) that was successfully tested in the 2017 Transpac Race.

See BermudaRace.com for news updates on the race. See Official Notice Board for current list of entries.

Genuine Risk At Start Of Bermuda Race (Photo by George Bekris )

 

Leg 01, Alicante to Lisbon, day 06, morning on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. morning, fast sailing in light winds. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey. 27 October, 2017 (photo © Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race )

Leg 01, Alicante to Lisbon, day 06, morning on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. morning, fast sailing in light winds. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey. 27 October, 2017 (photo © Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race )

An update on Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag crew member John Fisher, from Richard Brisius, the President of the Volvo Ocean Race:

This morning I am extremely sad to inform you that one of our sailors, John Fisher, from Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, is now presumed to have been lost at sea.

 

John Fisher on Leg 6 to Auckland, day 19 on board Sun hung Kai/Scallywag. John Fisher helming under the moon. 26 February, 2018. (Photo © Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race )

John Fisher,  Leg 6 to Auckland, day 19 on board Sun hung Kai/Scallywag. John Fisher helming under the moon. 26 February, 2018. (Photo © Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race )

 

This is heart-breaking for all of us. As sailors and race organisers losing a crew member at sea is a tragedy we don’t ever want to contemplate. We are devastated and our thoughts are with John’s family, friends and teammates.

Yesterday, just after 1300 UTC, Race Control for the Volvo Ocean Race were informed of a man overboard situation by Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag.

We immediately coordinated with the team as well as the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, who have located a ship and diverted it towards the scene. But at current speeds it remains over a day away.

With the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet approximately 200 miles downwind, sending them back upwind to assist, against gale to storm force winds, was not a viable option.

The Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag team conducted an exhaustive search for several hours in extremely challenging weather conditions, but they were unable to recover their teammate.

Given the cold water temperature and the extreme sea state, along with the time that has now passed since he went overboard, we must now presume that John has been lost at sea.

All of us here at the Volvo Ocean Race organisation send our heartfelt condolences out to John’s family, his friends and his teammates and we will do everything in our power to support them in this very difficult time.

Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag has now resumed heading in a north-easterly direction.

In fact, the team is currently in a challenging position – the weather is deteriorating and is forecast to be quite severe over the course of today.

The crew is, of course, emotionally and physically drained after what they have just experienced.

Our sole focus now is to provide all the support and assistance that we can to the team.

We are sure that there will be many questions about how one of our sailors was lost overboard yesterday.

We can address those after the team has been fully debriefed.

Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to John’s family and the entire Scallywag team.

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (Photo © Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race )

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (Photo © Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race )

 

March 10, 2018 02:00 UTC
Written by Peter Rusch

Dongfeng Race Team earned a spectacular come from behind win on Saturday afternoon in New Zealand

Dongfeng Race Team showed great concentration and resilience in winning the New Zealand Herald In Port Race in Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday.

Conditions were extremely light, shifty and patchy on the Waitematā Harbour, making for plenty of lead changes over the course of the one hour race.

Team AkzoNobel finished in second place, while early leaders MAPFRE completed the podium to retain the overall lead in the In Port Race Series.

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (Photo © Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race )

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (Photo © Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race )

“It was very tricky, very difficult,” said Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier following the race. “We had a terrible start but there was so much happening during the first leg that it wasn’t always good to be in the lead as you just showed the others where the light spots were. We were able to pick up on that and sail around the leaders.

“We worked hard on our speed, and managed to come back slowly.”

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (Photo © Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race )

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (Photo © Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race )

The race started in spectacular fashion, considering how light the wind was. MAPFRE positioned well to leeward of the fleet, was first across the line, with David Witt’s Scallywag barging through with speed ahead of a big group clustered near the pin end.

But in fact, it was Team Brunel who were causing the pile-up at the pin, forcing three boats outside of the start line, with Dongfeng, Turn the Tide on Plastic and team AkzoNobel all required to re-start well behind the leaders.

That left MAPFRE and Scallywag as the early leaders, charging up what appeared to be a one-tack leg.

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

But as they approached the top third of the leg, the wind died, and the trailing boats were able to sail around the leading pair on both sides, with AkzoNobel and Vestas 11th Hour Racing squeezing through just ahead of Dongfeng Race Team and Brunel Sailing.

On the nominally downwind second leg, AkzoNobel and Dongfeng found a vein of pressure to grab the lead, and on a shortened two-lap course, it was Dongfeng who were able to ease ahead and hold on for the win.

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 10 March, 2018. (photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

“It was a good team win,” said Caudrelier. “Very good for the mood of the team.”

The results mean MAPFRE retains the overall lead in the series, with Dongfeng reducing the gap to second place and team AkzoNobel leapfrogging Brunel to take third.


Current Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series Leaderboard

1. MAPFRE – 37 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team – 34 points
3. team AkzoNobel – 27 points
4. Team Brunel – 26 points
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 18 points
6. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag – 15 points
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 11 points

Auckland Stopover. The New Zealand Herald In-Port Race. 09 March, 2018. (Photo © Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race )

 

#volvooceanrace #dongfeng #auckland #inport

Auckland Stopover. (Photo © Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race )

Mark Towill, Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Photo by Atila Madrona/ Vestas 11th Hour Racing )

Mark Towill, Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Photo by Atila Madrona/ Vestas 11th Hour Racing )

 

 

Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-founder, Mark Towill, spent time at home with family and friends after departing the Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong stopover where the team’s VO65 was involved in a tragic accident with a fishing vessel. Towill has now regrouped with the team and their VO65 yacht in Auckland, New Zealand, ahead of the next leg of the race. The team has now been informed that investigations by the Hong Kong and mainland China authorities will be closed shortly with no further action to be taken. As a result, Towill gives us his account on what happened in the early hours of January 20 in the approach to Hong Kong.

 

What happened as you approached the finish line of Leg 4? 

We were about 30 nautical miles from the finish, and I was at the navigation station monitoring the radar and AIS (Automatic Identification System), and communicating with the crew on-deck through the intercom. I was watching three vessels on AIS: a cable layer, which we had just passed, a vessel farther ahead moving across our bow and away, and a third vessel identified as a fishing vessel. There were a number of additional boats on AIS, many of them fishing vessels, but these three were the only ones identified in our vicinity.
What were the conditions like? What could you see?

It was a dark and cloudy night, with a breeze of around 20 knots and a moderate sea state. As we approached the fishing vessel that we had identified on AIS, the on-deck crew confirmed visual contact – the fishing vessel was well lit – and we headed up to starboard to keep clear. I was watching AIS and communicating the range and bearing to the crew. The crew confirmed we were crossing the fishing vessel when, before the anticipated cross, there was an unexpected collision.

 

What happened immediately after the collision?

So much happened so fast. The impact from the collision spun us into a tack to port that we weren’t prepared for. Everyone who was off watch came on deck. Everyone on our boat was safe and accounted for. We checked the bow, saw the hole in the port side and went below to assess the damage. Water was flowing into our boat through the hole, and there was concern over the structural integrity of the bow.

 

How did you control the ingress of water?

We heeled the boat to starboard to keep the port bow out of the water. The sail stack was already to starboard and the starboard water ballast tank was full. We also kept the keel canted to starboard. We placed our emergency pump in the bow to pump water overboard. We were able to minimize the ingress, but the boat was difficult to maneuver because it was heeled over so much.
What actions did you take immediately after getting your boat under control?

It took roughly 20 minutes to get our boat under control, and then we headed back towards the location of the collision. Upon arrival, several people on a fishing vessel nearby were shining lights to a point on the water. Our first thought was that they could be looking for someone, so we immediately started a search and rescue. After some time searching, we eventually spotted a person in the water.

 

Who were you in communication with? Did anyone offer assistance?

We tried to contact the other vessel involved in the collision, and alerted race control straight away. When we initiated the search and rescue, our navigator immediately issued a Mayday distress call over VHF channel 16 on behalf of the fishing vessel. There were many vessels in the area, including a cruise ship with a hospital bay, but they were all standing by.

Communication was difficult. The sheer volume of traffic on the radio meant it was hard to communicate to the people we needed to. Not many people on the VHF were speaking English, but we found a way to relay messages through a cable laying vessel, and they were able to send their guard boat to aid in the search and rescue.
How was the casualty retrieved?

Difficult conditions and limited maneuverability hampered our initial efforts to retrieve the casualty. The guard boat from the cable layer provided assistance and every effort was made from all parties involved in the search and rescue. We were finally able to successfully recover the casualty after several attempts. When we got him aboard, our medics started CPR. We alerted Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre that we had the casualty aboard and they confirmed air support was on its way. He was transferred to a helicopter and taken to a Hong Kong hospital where medical staff where unable to revive him.

 

Did any of your competitors offer assistance?

Dongfeng Race Team offered assistance. At the time, we were coordinating the search and rescue with multiple vessels, including the cable layer that had a crewman who spoke Chinese and English and was relaying our communication. We advised Dongfeng that they were not needed as there were a number of vessels in the area that were closer.

Team AkzoNobel arrived while the air transfer was in effect. Race control requested that they stand by and they did, and we later released them once the helicopter transfer was complete.

 

What happened after the search and rescue procedure was completed?

Once we knew there was nothing more we could do at the scene of the accident, we ensured our boat was still secure, and informed Volvo Ocean Race that we would retire from the leg and motor to shore. We arrived at the technical area nearby the race village and met with race officials and local authorities to give our account of what happened.

Enright Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Photo by Atila Madrona/ Vestas 11th Hour Racing )

Enright Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Photo by Atila Madrona/ Vestas 11th Hour Racing )

Team will participate in next Southern Ocean leg around Cape Horn and onward to Brazil

Auckland, New Zealand (March 2, 2018) — When Vestas 11th Hour Racing rejoins the Volvo Ocean Race for the grueling Leg 7—from New Zealand, across the Southern Ocean, past Cape Horn and into Brazil—the crew will do so with a mixture of heavy hearts and anxiousness.

The team hasn’t raced since the collision in the latter stages of Leg 4, during the final approach to Hong Kong.

Just after 0100 hours on the morning of January 20 (local Hong Kong time), Vestas 11th Hour Racing was involved in a collision with a fishing vessel. Shortly after the accident, nine Chinese fishermen were rescued, however, one other very sadly perished. The Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew were not injured, but the VO65 race yacht suffered significant damage to its port bow. See Q&A with Mark Towill, skipper of Leg 4 for additional information on the incident.

The loss of a life still weighs heavily on the minds of Mark Towill and Charlie Enright, the co-founders of the team, and every other team member. “On behalf of the team, our thoughts and prayers go out to the deceased’s family,” said 29-year-old Towill. Out of respect for the process, the deceased and his family, the team has remained silent throughout the investigation.

Towill was skipper on Leg 4 because Enright had to sit out due to a family crisis. During Leg 3, from South Africa to Australia, Enright’s 2-year-old son had been admitted to the hospital with a case of bacterial pneumonia. Immediately before the end of Leg 4, Enright traveled to Hong Kong to greet the crew at the finish line, but instead had to play an active role in the crisis management process from the shore.

“I have been asked if it would have been different if I was onboard. Definitely not,” said Enright. “The crew has been well trained in crisis situations and performed as they should. They knew what to do and I think they did a phenomenal job given the circumstances. There comes a point when family is more important than the job you’ve been hired to do and I was at that point. I did what was best for my family.”

“The team was engaged in search and rescue for more than two hours with a compromised race boat,” Enright said. “I’m very proud of our crew. We were in a very difficult situation with the damage to the bow, but everyone acted professionally and without hesitation,” added Towill.

Despite the badly damaged bow, Towill and the crew of the stricken Vestas 11th Hour Racing boat carried out a search and rescue effort, which culminated in a casualty being retrieved and transferred to a helicopter, with the assistance of Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing VO65 was shipped to New Zealand from Hong Kong on January 28. A new port bow section was laid up over a VO65 hull mold at Persico Marine in Italy and then sent to New Zealand, where it was spliced to the hull of the team’s VO65 in the past two weeks.

Enright and Towill both complimented team manager Bill Erkelens, who has played a central role keeping the team together since the accident. Erkelens put together Enright and Towill’s program in the 2014-’15 Volvo Ocean Race and he was the first person they hired for the current team.

The team hopes to relaunch their VO65 in the coming days and will then spend some time practicing and possibly complete an overnight sail.

In the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, Enright and Towill’s crew led the fleet around Cape Horn by 15 minutes. It had been two weeks of thrilling racing from New Zealand, highlighted by 50-knot winds and a jibing duel along the ice boundary and a tight port/starboard crossing.

“That was an experience that’s still very fresh in my mind,” said Enright. “It was a hair-raising leg, with lots of maneuvers and heavy conditions. We’ll have to be on our toes again because the Southern Ocean demands respect. I imagine once we get a couple of days out of Auckland we’ll settle into the normal pattern of life at sea.”

Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race, approximately 6,700 nautical miles to Itajaí, Brazil, is scheduled to begin March 18. Prior to that the New Zealand In-Port Race is scheduled March 10.

Clipper Race fleet heading for China

Clipper Race fleet heading for China

After a relaxing break in the Whitsundays, the Clipper Race fleet bid farewell to Australia today to race to China; and fittingly at this halfway stage in the 2017-18 edition, it is the destination’s two team entries, Sanya Serenity Coast and Qingdao, which lead the overall race standings.

Ahead of departing for her team’s home port, Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck said: “I am really, really excited about getting to Sanya. It’s going to be a tough, long race. We don’t have much of a lead in the overall standings but it is a lead nonetheless so that’s great and we are just keeping the little Joker Card up our sleeve to spring it when people least expect it.”

Going into the seventh of thirteen individual races, Sanya Serenity Coast leads the Clipper 2017-18 Race overall standings with 65 points, just head of Qingdao (63), which has already played its Joker Card (which doubles its points for one chosen race), and Visit Seattle (60), which won Race 6 into Airlie Beach.

The start line for Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race to Sanya, is positioned 150 nautical miles off the coast on the other side of the Great Barrier Reef. Teams are currently making best speed to get there with the race expected to officially get underway with a Le Mans start at 1200 local time tomorrow (02200 UTC).

The first of two races which form Leg 5, the Asia-Pacific Leg, Race 7 is predicted to offer some of the most varied conditions of the entire circumnavigation. At 4,280 nautical miles long, teams will be tested mentally as well as physically as they adapt to a host of changing sailing and climatic conditions.

Clipper Race Director Mark Light explains: “The teams are now off on a pretty long race to Sanya but they’ve enjoyed a great break here in the Whitsundays and they are ready for this next challenge. Fluky winds are an expected feature in this race, meaning high levels of concentration and sail changes will be needed.”

Looking further ahead, Mark adds: “Approaching the equator, the fleet is likely to once again witness some spectacular lightning storms, similar to those experienced in this last race up the coast. The passing squalls can offer some much-needed relief from the heat, but can bring some heavy storm conditions with them.”

In a similar move to Race 1, from Liverpool to Punta del Este, a tactical Doldrums Corridor rule has been added to this race. Visible on the Race Viewer, teams will have the option to decide to motorsail for a maximum of 4 degrees of latitude within the Doldrums Corridor, situated in the vicinity of the Solomon Sea.

Continuing north past the equator, the wind will start to build as the fleet encounters Northeast Monsoon winds where teams will be looking to gain early advantage and pull away from their competition. From here, tactics will be at play as teams enter the South China Sea, setting course for the finish line outside Sanya Serenity Marina.

Though Race 7, the Forever Tropical Paradise Race to Sanya is a long one, Race Director Mark Light is expecting some exciting racing. He says: “It’s been really close racing so far in the Clipper 2017-18 Race. There have been some very exciting and incredibly close finishes in the first four legs and the standings are also pretty tight so I’m really looking forward to see what happens next.”

Laying on the southern tip of Hainan Island, the tropical paradise of Sanya awaits and promises to give crew a taste of the ‘Oriental Hawaii’. Explaining the race name choice, Sanya Vice Mayor Zhenling Xu says: “The name Forever Tropical Paradise Race was chosen to reflect Sanya’s unique tropical climate and culture.

“As a renowned domestic and international tourism destination, Sanya has abundant tropical natural resources such as its year-round balmy climate, clean air, sunshine, lush greenery, pristine seawater, soft beaches, fresh seafood, international high-end hotels and resorts. Sanya has a very profound and rich tropical island culture. Its marine culture, resort culture, Li and Miao culture form a splendid contrast to the tropical scenery, making it a unique tropical paradise in China.”

Following the fleet’s departure from Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach, the teams competed in a short course exhibition race to determine the order for the Le Mans start line. Visit Seattle took line honours so will have the advantage of being the windward boat, with PSP Logistics and Sanya Serenity Coast to be the second and third boats respectively.

Once the fleet reaches the Race 7 start position, Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs will lead the Le Mans start as directed by the Clipper Race Director Mark Light.

The race to Sanya is expected to take between 23 to 27 days, with the fleet expected to arrive into the Sanya Serenity Marina between the 21 and 25 of February. To follow the progress of the teams, keep an eye on the Race Viewer and also the team pages for the daily Skipper Reports and Crew Blogs from the boats.

The 40,000 nm Clipper 2017-18 Race started in Liverpool on 20 August last year and will return there on 28 July this summer. The only event on the planet which trains amateur sailors to become ocean racers and complete a circumnavigation, the Clipper Race is the sailing equivalent of climbing Mount Everest.

 ENDS

 

OVERALL CLIPPER 2017-18 RACE STANDINGS (BEFORE RACE 7)

1   SANYA SERENITY COAST         65

2   QINGDAO                               63*

3   VISIT SEATTLE                        60

4   DARE TO LEAD                        56*

5   GARMIN                                  53*

6   PSP LOGISTICS                       53

7   GREAT BRITAIN                       49*

8   UNICEF                                   36

9   LIVERPOOL 2018                     34

10   HOTELPLANNER.COM             33

11   NASDAQ                               25

(* Already played Joker Card)

 

 

You can track the progress of the rest of the fleet via the Clipper Race Viewer at www.clipperroundtheworld.com/raceviewer.

 

About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
www.clipperroundtheworld.com

The eleventh edition of the unique biennial Clipper Race will visit six continents and include six ocean crossings. Almost 5000 novices have been turned into ocean racers during the past twenty years of the Clipper Race, though still more people have climbed Mount Everest than circumnavigated the globe.

The eleven Clipper Race teams compete on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts. Around 710 crew come from all walks of life and from all around the world, with over 40 different nationalities represented. Crew can complete the full circumnavigation, or one or more of the eight legs that make up the Clipper Race.

After completing the second stopover of the Clipper 2017-18 Race in Sydney, the teams are heading to The Whitsundays before continuing on to Sanya, Qingdao, Seattle, Panama and New York before a final crossing of the Atlantic Ocean towards Derry-Londonderry.

After crossing six oceans and visiting thirteen stopover ports on six continents, the fleet will return to Liverpool’s Albert Dock almost a year later for Race Finish on Saturday 28 July 2018, where one of the teams will be awarded the illustrious Clipper Race trophy.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Team AkzoNobel took the win in the HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong on a challenging afternoon on the waters of Kowloon Bay.

The wind during race time was a 6 to 10 knot Easterly, but it was very shifty and puffy, and with a tidal current running on the race course, it was a difficult day for the tacticians.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

“We had a fantastic race, pretty exciting. We planned to sail our own race today. It was tricky enough with the tide and the windshifts,” said team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. ( Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

“The team sailed an unbelievable race and the guys in the back of the boat played the tactics very well… It’s good when things come together. It’s a nice reward for all the effort the team has put in.”

Dongfeng Race Team finished in second place, with Team Brunel third. The two swapped places on the third lap of the course after a solid upwind leg by Brunel gave them the lead, but the Dongfeng crew fought back on the run to secure second place.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

A fourth place finish on Saturday by the series leader MAPFRE means Dongfeng vaults to the top of the table.

But it’s a tight leaderboard and it could compress further following Sunday’s Around Hong Kong Island Race, when results of the weekend of racing will be combined to assign the points from this stopover.

Hong Kong’s hometown heroes Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag had a fantastic start, but fell back and battled to a fifth place finish over Turn the Tide on Plastic on Saturday. Both teams will be determined to move up with a better result on Sunday.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

The Around Hong Kong Island Race is scheduled to start at 11:30am local time in Hong Kong (0330 UTC). There will be live coverage of the start and finish of Sunday’s race on www.volvooceanrace.com, on Facebook and Twitter @volvooceanrace. Fans will be able to follow the full race on the tracker via www.volvooceanrace.com.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing will not race this weekend or on Leg 5 to Guangzhou next week as the team coordinates repairs to its boat – see more here.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Current Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race leaderboard 
Dongfeng Race Team – 24 points
MAPFRE – 23 points
team AkzoNobel – 18 points
Team Brunel – 18 points
Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 12 points
Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag – 9 points
Turn the Tide on Plastic – 7 points

*** Note: The above leaderboard reflects full points assigned from Saturday’s HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. On Sunday, the results of the Around Hong Kong Island race will be combined with Saturday’s HGC In-Port Race to award the overall leader from this weekend’s racing a maximum of seven points from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018.  (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Hong Kong Stopover. HGC In-Port Race Hong Kong. 27 January, 2018. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

eg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, day 17, Photo by Amory Ross/Volvo Ocean Race. 18 January, 2018.

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, day 17, Photo by Amory Ross/Volvo Ocean Race. 18 January, 2018.

The Volvo Ocean Race can confirm Vestas 11th Hour Racing, one of the teams competing in the 2017-18 race, has been involved in a collision with a non-race vessel before the finish of Leg 4, near Hong Kong.

The team has retired from Leg 4 and is proceeding to Hong Kong unassisted and under its own power.

Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the collision by the team moments after it happened at approximately 17:23 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018 (01:23 local time on Saturday morning).

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC) and undertook a search and rescue mission.

HKMRCC has informed Race Control that a commercial vessel in the area was able to rescue nine of the crew and that a tenth crew member was taken by helicopter to hospital.

All of the crew on Vestas 11th Hour Racing are safe. Their boat suffered damage and the team has officially retired from the leg, but the team is able to motor to shore.

The Volvo Ocean Race is deeply saddened to inform that the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a team competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, and a fishing vessel has resulted in a fatality of a crew of the fishing vessel.

On behalf of the Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the deceased.

The incident occurred approximately 30 miles from the finish of Leg 4, outside of Hong Kong waters. Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the collision by the team moments after it happened at approximately 17:23 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018 (01:23 local time on Saturday morning).

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team, none of whom were injured in the collision, issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC) and undertook a search and rescue mission.

HKMRCC informed Race Control that a commercial vessel in the area was able to rescue nine of the crew and that a tenth crew member was taken by helicopter to hospital. HKMRCC has since confirmed the death of the air-lifted crew member.

Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing are now focused on providing immediate support to those affected by this incident.

All involved organisations are co-operating with the authorities and are fully supporting the ongoing investigation.