Volvo Ocean Race Fleet round mark before heading out of Cape Town starting Leg 2  (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Volvo Ocean Race Fleet round mark before heading out of Cape Town starting Leg 2 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

– Gusts of up to 35 knots send fleet off to flyer

– Follow the race all the way on our app

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 19 – Skippers of the seven boats in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, which set out for the 6,125 nautical mile (nm) Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, left with warnings of possible cyclone activity and tropical storms ringing in their ears.

Race organisers took late measures to keep the 66 sailors away from the very worst of the weather on the Indian Ocean with a new exclusion zone leading to the Seychelles.

There were already zones in place to avoid icebergs in the Southern Ocean and the more unlikely menace of pirate attack further down the route on the east coast of the Indian Ocean.

The latter zone was being kept secret from the public to avoid the possibility of the fleet being intercepted.

From the very start on Wednesday (1800 local/1600 UTC), the sailors were given a taste of things to come with gusts of up to 35 knots kicking up a procession of white-capped waves.

It was a question of ‘don’t break your boat’ as most opted for conservative sail choices, while they wrestled to keep them under control and intact.

For the second leg start in a row, Team Brunel led the fleet out of port after wrestling the lead, first from MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), and then Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) who were well in the hunt.

Brunel and Mapfre leave Cape Town, South Africa at start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo © Chris Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

Brunel and Mapfre leave Cape Town, South Africa at start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo © Chris Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

 

The fleet will continue to sail in these gale-force conditions, which Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright (USA) described before the start as ‘heinous’.

“I think we’re all going to have to be pretty conservative,” he told the skippers’ press conference, just over 24 hours earlier. “This could be the worst sea state these boats have ever seen.”

Favourites for the leg are Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), who have barely made a false move since setting out from Alicante on October 11.

They followed their 12-minute win over Dongfeng Race Team in Leg 1 on November 5, by securing victory on Saturday in the Cape Town in-port race.

When asked if there were such a thing as ‘home advantage’ in sailing, Walker, 44, was determined to keep his crew’s feet on the ground – as well as his own.

“First we have to get there,” he smiled. “I’ll be happy just to get within range and then arrive in Abu Dhabi. There’s a fantastic welcome for everybody in store once we get there, that’s for sure.”

Team Vestas Wind surprised onlookers when a choir on board their support boat burst into song just prior to the start. Their message was loud and clear: ‘There’s an even more important race we must win – to save the environment’.

Leg 2 is expected to take between 22 to 28 days to complete, depending on conditions. The boats will remain in Abu Dhabi over Christmas and the New Year before setting sail again on January 3 for Sanya, China.

 

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leaving Cape Town, South Africa at start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo © Chris Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leaving Cape Town, South Africa at start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo © Chris Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

 

 

 

 

Abu Dhabi Racing Team, skippered by Ian Walker, win the In-Port acing Series in Cape Town, South Africa racking up more points (Photo © Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Racing Team, skippered by Ian Walker, win the In-Port acing Series in Cape Town, South Africa racking up more points (Photo © Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race

In-Port CAPE TOWN total
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 1 3
Team Brunel 2 6
Team Alvimedica 6 7
Team SCA 3 9
Dongfeng Race Team 4 9
MAPFRE 7 10
Team Vestas Wind 5 12

* Did Not Finish | ** Retired | *** Disqualified | **** Did Not Start

– Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing top of In-Port series

– Follow the race all the way on our app

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 15 – Ian Walker (GBR) and his Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew became the confirmed kings of Cape Town on Saturday, clinching the in-port race less than a week after arriving here as Leg 1 winners.

The victory, by just over a minute, leaves them on top of the In-port Race Series too, and bursting with confidence for Leg 2 which starts on Wednesday (November 19).

Only in the sprint to the finish line from the final mark on the eight-mile course on Saturday, did Walker’s men look under threat with Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) breathing down their necks.

The fleet was split from the start in challenging conditions in Table Bay, under the famous Table Mountain, with winds jumping dramatically between 12 and 20 knots and rain clouds threatening throughout.

Walker’s team from the Emirates have already shown that they can make the right decisions under the toughest of pressure, by edging out Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) by just 12 minutes in a thrilling Leg 1 climax last week after 25 days of sailing from Alicante to Cape Town.

November 15, 2014. The fleet during the  In-Port race in Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 15, 2014. The fleet during November 15, 2014. The fleet at the start of the In-Port race in Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

After some 20 minutes of racing on Saturday, they looked to have victory in the bag, especially after one of their rivals for the in-port series prize, Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), suffered a tear in their headsail.

The battle for second place soon grabbed the attention of most with Team SCA and Team Brunel in a thrilling showdown after the Dutch found a burst of pressure midway round.

Bekking had earlier told a press conference that the in-port series was not a big priority for him.

But he and his crew were plainly giving it 100 percent as they scrambled with Team SCA for the second rung of the poldium.

A problem with a gennaker failing to unfurl cleanly finally scuppered the efforts of the women’s crew to keep Bekking and co at bay and Team Brunel made one final effort to catch Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Once again, Walker was ready for the challenge and by the finish line had a winning margin of a couple of hundred metres from Team Brunel with Team SCA in third.

Results Cape town In-Port Race:
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 15:06:57 -1pt
2. Team Brunel (NED) 15:08:00 – 2pts
3. Team SCA (SWE) 15:09:04 – 3pts
4. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) 15:09:22 – 4pts
5. Team Vestas Wind (DEN) 15:11:25 – 5pts
6. Team Alvimedica (USA/TUR) 15:16:14 – 6pts
7. MAPFRE (ESP) 15:18:32 – 7pts

November 15, 2014. The fleet at the start of the In-Port race in Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 15, 2014. The fleet at the start of the In-Port race in Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

 

November 5, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing celebrate on stage after crossing the finish line in Cape Town as the winners of Leg 1. (Photo © Ian Roman/Volvo OCean Race)

November 5, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing celebrate on stage after crossing the finish line in Cape Town as the winners of Leg 1. (Photo © Ian Roman/Volvo OCean Race)

Leg 1 – Alicante to Cape Town

26 days at sea.


Times

In order of finish: Finish date Finish Time Elapsed Time
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 11/05/14  15:10:44 UTC  25d 3h 10m 44s
Dongfeng Race Team 11/05/14  15:22:48 UTC  25d 3h 22m 48s
Team Brunel  11/05/14  19:33:25 UTC  25d 7h 33m 25s
Team Vestas Wind  11/06/14  12:48:47 UTC  26d 00h 48m 47s
Team Alvimedica  11/07/14  01:07:38 UTC 26d 13h 07m 38s
Team SCA  11/07/14  11:37:49 UTC  26d 23h 37m 49s
MAPFRE   11/07/14  12:47:32 UTC  27d 00h 47m 32s

Stats

In order of finish: Sailed
distance (nm)
Max 24hr
distance (nm)
Max 1hr avg
speed (Knots)
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 8772,444 539,269 26,5
Dongfeng Race Team 8363,906 541,655 24,5
Team Brunel 8788,946 533,5 26,5
Team Vestas Wind 8531,5 522,7 23,8
Team Alvimedica  8405,5 489,5  27,9
Team SCA  8499,9  501,6  23,8
 MAPFRE  8525,9  477,5  21,7
November 05, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crosses the finish line winning Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town after 25 days of sailing.  (Photo copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

November 05, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crosses the finish line winning Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town after 25 days of sailing. (Photo copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Leg 1
DTL

(NM)

GAIN/LOSS

(NM)

DTF

(NM)

Speed

(kt)

ADOR
ADOR FIN – 025d 03h 10m 44s
DFRT
DFRT FIN – 025d 03h 22m 48s
TBRU
TBRU 0 61 45.9 15
VEST
VEST 172.9 52 218.7 7
ALVI
ALVI 306 59 351.8 15
MAPF
MAPF 395 62 440.9 20
SCA1
SCA1 424.4 60 470.2 19

–  Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing win by just 12 minutes

– Dongfeng Race Team chase Azzam to the finish

– Follow the race all the way on our app 

ALICANTE, Spain, Nov 5 – Ian Walker (GBR) and his Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew have barely snatched a wink of sleep for nearly 48 hours, but they will surely be celebrating deep into the night after an epic first leg victory in the Volvo Ocean Race on Wednesday.

November 5, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing celebrate after crossing the finish line in Cape Town as the winners of  Leg 1 (Photo copyright Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 5, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing celebrate after crossing the finish line in Cape Town as the winners of Leg 1 (Photo © Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

There have been many close finishes in the 41-year history of the event, but few will have been quite so tense for the victors, who have been feeling the hot breath of Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) down their necks for the best part of a week in the 6,487-nautical mile (nm) stage.

Even with the finish under Table Mountain in Cape Town in sight 2nm away, Walker could not relax, with wind in perilously short supply and the Chinese boat able to close again before Azzam finally claimed the hardest fought of victories.

The crossed the line at 1510 UTC, just 12 minutes before Dongfeng, after 25 days, three hours and 10 minutes of sailing.

The win is a personal triumph for 44-year-old Walker. The Briton was forced to motor miserably back into Alicante on the first night of the opening leg in 2011-12 after a Mediterranean storm dismasted his boat.

This time, he and the crew have barely made an error since setting out with the rest of the fleet on October 11 from Alicante, and their Volvo Ocean 65 has withstood everything that the Med and the Atlantic could throw at them.

But they still could not shake off Caudrelier’s crew, who tried all manner of manoeuvres, some under the cover of darkness, to get the better of the front-runners.

Walker, red-eyed after sleep deprivation for so long, was finally able to celebrate surely one of the sweetest wins of a career, which also includes two Olympic silver medals.

November 05, 2014. Skipper Ian Walker, Adil Khalid and Luke Parkinson on stage for the prize giving. Abu Dhabi was first of Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town.  ( Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 05, 2014. Skipper Ian Walker, Adil Khalid and Luke Parkinson on stage for the prize giving. Abu Dhabi was first of Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

“It’s quite emotional actually,” Walker told Race HQ, minutes after crossing the line.

“I didn’t think I would be – but that last couple of hours, they threw everything at us,” he smiled, “We’ve had people ride on our heels for the last 10 days or so. I must congratulate Dongfeng, an absolutely fantastic performance.”

Ian Walker greets Charles Caudrelier as Team Dongfeng docks and takes 2nd place just minutes after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing grabs first place in Leg 1 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Ian Walker greets Charles Caudrelier as Team Dongfeng docks and takes 2nd place just minutes after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing grabs first place in Leg 1 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

In contrast, Caudrelier looked like he had thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the chase and the opportunity to prove a point to those who doubted that his crew, that included two Chinese rookies, could seriously compete at the front of the fleet.

Dongfeng Race Team’s second place was all the more remarkable since twice their progress was slowed through damage to the boat; first through a smashed rudder and then through a shattered padeye, which caused a domino-effect of damage including a broken wheel.

Charles Caudrelier and Team Dongfeng  takes 2nd place just minutes after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing grabs first place in Leg 1 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Charles Caudrelier and Team Dongfeng takes 2nd place just minutes after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing grabs first place in Leg 1 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Repeatedly over the past week, they have nibbled away at Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s lead, closing to within three nm shortly after daybreak on Wednesday.

But Walker and his team had sailed too well for too long to give victory away after such a struggle, and the crowd packing Cape Town’s famous V&A Waterfront gave them a reception they surely will never forget.

1st Place finish podium with Abu Dhabi Ocean  Racing Team led by Ian Walker (Photo by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing)

1st Place finish podium with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team led by Ian Walker (Photo by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing)

For the rest of the fleet, it’s now a battle for the minor places and equally hard-won points. Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) should take third spot later on Wednesday with Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) looking good for fourth.

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) are expected to be too far ahead to be caught in fifth, but MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) could yet have a big tussle for sixth and seventh spots before their expected arrival in Cape Town on Friday.

November 05, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leads at the end of Leg 1 on the approach of Cape Town finish line.  (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 05, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leads at the end of Leg 1 on the approach of Cape Town finish line. (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Brunel leadt the fleet out of Alicante at the Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

Brunel leadt the fleet out of Alicante at the Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

 

Team Brunel leads fleet out of Alicante

– Around 50,000 flock to dockside to wish sailors fair winds

– Opening night 20-knot winds and rain to greet sailors

– Follow the race all the way with our new app

ALICANTE, Spain, October 11 – The seven-strong fleet of the 12th Volvo Ocean Race raced out of Alicante on Saturday for the punishing first leg to Cape Town with rains and strong winds forecast to greet them in the opening eight hours.

The Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo by Davis Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race )

The Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo by Davis Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race )

Team Brunel took the honours after the fleet bade farewell to a memorable Alicante nine-day stopover before heading out to the Mediterranean, through the Straits of Gibraltar and then into the Atlantic during the first week of a nine-month, 38,739-mile marathon.

Skippered by Bouwe Bekking, the Dutch boat headed the seven-strong fleet out of the Spanish coastal city which hosts the Race HQ and has given the 66 sailors competing in Leg 1 an incredible send-off with tens of thousands visiting the Race Village every day.

They were hotly pursued by both Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and MAPFRE.

Memories of the last “salida” (departure) from Alicante three years ago will still be fresh for many – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Sanya were forced to limp back to shore with crippling damage within 24 hours after an opening night storm in the Med wrought early havoc.

Goodbye hugs (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Goodbye hugs (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

There’s no such carnage predicted this time but Race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante suggested it will be “messy” from about 2200 local time (2000 UTC) on the first leg when rains are likely to drench the fleet and winds could pick up to around 20 knots.

Traditionally, boats who have won Leg 1 have gone on to win the entire race but Groupama bucked that trend in 2011-12 when they finished last of only three boats who managed to complete the 6,487 miles to Cape Town.

The French team, led by Franck Cammas, took time to get into their stride but eventually emerged as deserved winners by the time the fleet reached their home port of Lorient, the penultimate stopover.

Another close race is predicted again for 2014-15, especially with the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65 levelling the playing field, but for the 50,000 or so who packed the Alicante Race Village to wave the fleet on their way, the event has already proved a winner.

The Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo by Davis Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race )

Boats ready fpr the Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo by Davis Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race )

Team Vestas Wind (Photo by Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind)

Team Vestas Wind (Photo by Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind)

– Vestas launch ‘biggest B2B enlightenment campaign’

– Follow Team Vestas Wind and all the latest Race action here and on our app (Volvo Ocean Race)

– Don’t forget to sign up for our great new official Game

ALICANTE, Spain, Oct 7 – It’s been the question every follower of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 has been asking when they see the Team Vestas Wind slogan on their boat’s mainsail: What is ‘A Race We Must Win”?

Today Vestas, the world’s biggest wind manufacturer, gave the answer just four days before their crew and the rest of the seven-strong fleet leave Spain for the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race to Cape Town on Saturday.

Vestas Group SVP and chief marketing officer Morten Albaek describes the campaign as “probably the biggest business-to-business enlightenment campaign” ever undertaken.

“We want to tell the world that humanity is in A Race We Must Win and that it can be won only with the help of wind technology,” says Albaek, speaking from Alicante.

A Race We Must Win comprises three critical challenges currently facing mankind, each closing in on a point beyond which change for the worse is inevitable:

– The race against climate change where carbon reduction and investments to avoid carbon lock-in are urgently needed to avoid increasing global temperatures by more than the critical two degrees.

– The race against energy poverty where 1.3 billion today live without clean and reliable energy and whose immediate solution is coal and diesel unless otherwise supported.

– The race against water scarcity where 1.2 billion people live today with absolute water scarcity, an amount increasing dramatically as more than 40% of the global population is projected to be living in areas of severe water stress in 2050.

Vestas has installed a specially constructed pavilion in Alicante to illustrate these key issues and is planning to add “new elements” to the campaign in each of the key ports where the race and respective teams will stop over.

“We are not just talking about the problems but about the solutions and asking people to make commitments in their daily life,” says Albaek.

As part of its race activities, Vestas will engage with more than 1,000 decision makers among their key customers in key markets. Albaek points out that the 10 countries that the race will visit – including South Africa, China, Brazil and USA – represent “a significant part of our business for the next few years”.

“There will be millions of spectators coming down to the ports and these are citizens and consumers that need a message that is meaningful for them,” he adds.

Albaek says that Vestas’ campaign will not end when the Volvo Ocean Race finishes in Gothenburg in June 2015, but will feed in to the campaign to get concrete solutions to stop climate change at the Paris COP meeting later that year. “Our race won’t end with the Volvo Ocean Race, it will continue to Paris and beyond,” he adds

 

October 4, 2014. Team Alvimedica wins the In-Port Race in Alicante.

Young Guns from October 4, 2014. Team Alvimedica wins the In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain. Launching the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

 

–      American newcomer leaves experienced rivals in wake

–       Catch all the latest Volvo Ocean Race action here

–       And don’t forget to play our great new Official Race Game

ALICANTE, Spain, Oct 4 – Charlie Enright’s smile said it all as he led his young Team Alvimedica crew to victory in the opening skirmish of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 on Saturday.

There’s a long, long way to go and the Alicante in-port race success does not even count towards the offshore overall trophy apart from as a tie-breaker in the case of teams finishing level on points.

But as a confidence-builder for the Turkish/American team, you could hardly beat victory under bright blue skies and 14-knot winds in front of thousands of fans who thronged the Alicante harbour.

Enright was impressively poised afterwards. “Surprised that we’re able to do well? Not that much. We’ve had some good practice, the guys have been working really hard on maneuvres and we’re happy with the win,” he said.

“We haven’t done anything that counts for the overall trophy yet, but it’s a confidence builder, it gives us the feeling that we can do well again.”

Enright (USA), 30, and his right-hand man Mark Towill (USA) know all about fairytale starts after hatching a dream to one day compete in offshore racing’s leading event on the film set of the Disney movie, Morning Light, some seven years ago.

The realisation of that ambition took a lot of determination and the hammering on doors of countless sponsors before Turkish surgical instrument manufacturer Alvimedica CEO Cem Bozkurt finally saw potential in them and supported their campaign.

On the face of Saturday’s surprise result, that confidence could be richly repaid, although it’s obviously very early days.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, winners of the 2011 Alicante in-port race, were denied a repeat triumph by a mere five seconds in just over 14 knots of wind with Spanish entrants MAPFRE third a further 25 seconds adrift.

Generally, the racing could barely have been tighter in almost perfect conditions for sailing and the lead changed hands several times after a storming start with China’s Dongfeng Race Team grabbing the early initiative.

Team Brunel (NED) eventually pipped them for fourth spot with Team SCA’s all-women crew (SWE) leaving Team Vestas Wind (DEN) comfortably behind to take sixth.

Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town begins next Saturday. In all, the boats will cover 38,739 nautical miles over nine months before the adventure finishes in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27, 2015. They will visit 11 ports in all, including a pit-stop in The Hague.

Alicante in-port race results:

1. Team Alvimedica (Turkey/USA) 14:52:02 – 1pt

2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 14:52:07 – 2pts

3. MAPFRE (Spain) 14:52:27 – 3pts

4. Team Brunel (The Netherlands) 14:52:48 – 4pts

5. Dongfeng Race Team (China) 14:53:14 – 5pts

6. Team SCA (Sweden) 14:53:51  – 6pts

7. Team Vestas Wind (Denmark) 14:55:24 – 7pts

Bouwe Bekking (Photo by Kurt Arrigo/Team Brunel)

Bouwe Bekking (Photo by Kurt Arrigo/Team Brunel)

 Team Brunel stole pole position in the first competitive meeting of the new Volvo Ocean 65s, as the inaugural edition of the Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands race took place in Lanzarote this week.

Bouwe Bekking’s crew, who completed the 650-nautical mile course in 57 hours and 39 minutes, secured first prize in a race against two of their Volvo Ocean Race rivals – the Spanish-backed boat skippered by Iker Martínez, and the all-women’s crew of Team SCA.

“The race was really fun, with various conditions”, said Team Brunel’s Lithuanian crew member Rokas Milevičius. “We had strong wind, light wind, no wind – and we sailed up and downwind”.

Featuring seven islands, and a host of tricky transition zones, the course is a notoriously turbulent one – and Rokas reckons that the added experience of his team played an integral role in the win.

“We knew exactly what to expect, because Andrew ‘Capey’ Cape has done this race before”, he added. “He did a great job in preparing the race. We knew where the wind would die, and where the wind would increase.”

Meanwhile, in a fight to the death for the silver spot, the Spanish-backed boat narrowly pipped Team SCA to the runner-up place.

Newly-named runner-up skipper Iker Martínez and his crew made it back to Lanzarote in 59 hours and 40 minutes – just 10 minutes before their rivals.

And despite losing out on victory, the Spaniard was delighted with the performance of his team. “It’s been a good surprise”, he said.

“We came here to see where we’re at, and to establish a base upon which to start learning. The truth is that we are better off than what we first thought”.

It was back to the drawing board for Team SCA though, who admitted that after months of tough training, their first competitive race in the new boat was a real learning curve.

“We have a long way to go”, said American sailor Sally Barkow. “It just highlights what is important in an offshore race, so I think everyone now has a better concept of what we need to get better at”.

But third place is not the end of the world, according to her teammate, Abby Ehler, who believes that the team still have reason to be confident.

“This is what we’ve been training for the whole time – to race”, she said. “We were able to hang in there and give the other boats a run for their money. I think we can be pretty happy with ourselves”.

Photo by Yann Riou Team DongFeng

Photo by Yann Riou Team DongFeng

As the teams were landed back into Lanzarote, Dongfeng Race Team continued their pre-race preparations with a session of T’ai Chi.

The ancient martial art, famous for its numerous health and well-being benefits, originates from the city of Shiyan, one of the Chinese-backed team’s platinum partners.

French skipper Charles Caudrelier sees it as the perfect way to unite his multi-cultural – and multi-lingual – crew.

“It’s something we all enjoy”, he said. “It’s interesting for the western crew to discover new things like this everyday with our Chinese sailors”.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Meanwhile, Team Alvimedica and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing arrived in Southampton, UK earlier this week, following successful transatlantic crossings from Newport, Rhode Island.

The trip – which under strict Volvo Ocean Race rules was not a race – saw the boats navigate some tricky weather conditions, including 40 knot winds, and thunder and lightning storms.

“We are really on our toes”, said ADOR navigator Simon Fisher, during the crossing. “It’s really, really relevant race training, for sure”.

And Team Alvimedica, in particular, will be pleased to spend some time on dry land following long spells at sea in recent weeks – but their preparations were well worth it, according to their Onboard Reporter Amory Ross.

“Heaps of tough miles, and each of them valuable in so many ways”, he wrote. “I think it’s safe to say that everyone feels they were extremely well spent”.

The voyage saw Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s skipper, Ian Walker, return to his hometown – and the respective boats will remain on the south coast Aberdeen Asset Management’s Cowes Week, which runs from August 2-9, before embarking on the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race the following day.

The two teams will also be joined by Team SCA, the Spanish-backed boat, and Dongfeng Race Team.

Sophie Chszek (Photo by Corinna Halloran/ Team SCA)

Sophie Chszek (Photo by Corinna Halloran/ Team SCA)