MAPFRE, the Spanish-flagged team led by skipper Xabi Fernández has won Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race, a 7,000 nautical mile marathon from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa.
"It's amazing, we're super-happy. We arrived here in one piece and in front of the others; we can't ask for more," skipper Xabi Fernández said moments after finishing.
MAPFRE trailed Dongfeng Race Team on the long charge to the south, but last weekend, 14 days into the leg and after crossing the Doldrums, navigator Juan Vila and skipper Xabi Fernández put in a quick gybe to the southwest that Dongfeng didn’t match. It turned out to be a winning move; within hours the Spanish team had a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
In contrast, after leading from the first night, Dongfeng suddenly found itself in fourth place two weeks into the leg. But skipper Charles Caudrelier led his team to an inspiring fight-back. Over the final days, Dongfeng clawed its way back into a well-deserved second place.
“A good second place,” said Caudrelier. “For sure at one moment we were hoping for better, but a few days ago it was much worse and we made a fantastic comeback.
“Well done to MAPFRE, they did less mistakes than us, but we never gave up, the crew never complained, they just worked on the comeback… We have amazing speed in strong winds, we’ve worked on that a lot, and it was unbelievable, we were nearly a knot faster sometimes.”
Completing the podium is Vestas 11th Hour Racing, the winner of Leg 1. Skipper Charlie Enright’s team was always in the mix with the leaders on this leg, but couldn't find a way to slip into the lead.
“We’re happy with a podium result against a lot of good teams,” Enright said, dockside in Cape Town. “We’re not satisfied yet with how we're sailing the boat, so we still have a lot of work to do, but we’ll keep chipping away. We’re still trying to get faster through the water and streamline our decision-making, but it’s a long race. We have time.”
The next boat to finish should be Team Brunel, expected to cross the line in Cape Town in fourth place sometime after midnight (UTC) Friday night.
Then it will be another 24 hours or so to the trailing group of three – team AkzoNobel, Turn the Tide on Plastic, and Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag are engaged in a tight battle for fifth place. Current projections have them all finishing with an hour of each just after midnight on Saturday night (UTC).
Leg 2 – Provisional Results – as at Saturday 25 November at 00:18 UTC
1. MAPFRE -- FINISHED -- 15:10.33 UTC – 19 days, 01h:10m:33s
2. Dongfeng Race Team -- FINISHED -- 18:02.39 UTC – 19 days, 04h:02m:39s
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- FINISHED -- 19:37.53 UTC – 19 days, 05h:37m:53s
4. Team Brunel -- FINISHED -- 00:14.47 UTC – 19 days, 10h:14m:47s
5. team AkzoNobel +323.7
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +324.9
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +326.6
Volvo Ocean Race – Current Leaderboard
1. MAPFRE -- FINISHED -- 14 points (after Leg 2)
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- FINISHED -- 13 points (after Leg 2)
3. Dongfeng Race Team -- FINISHED -- 11 points (after Leg 2)
4. Team Brunel -- FINISHED -- 6 points (after Leg 2)
4. team AkzoNobel -- RACING -- 4 points (after Leg 1)
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag -- RACING -- 3 points (after Leg 1)
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic -- RACING -- 1 point (after Leg 1)
What is the Volvo Ocean Race?
Since 1973, the Volvo Ocean Race has provided the ultimate test of a team and a human adventure like no other.
Often described as the longest and toughest professional sporting event in the world, sailing’s toughest team challenge and one of the sport’s Big Three events, along with the Olympics and America’s Cup.
The 2017-18 edition will take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world, across four oceans, touching six continents and 12 landmark Host Cities.
Put simply, the Volvo Ocean Race is an obsession, and many of the world's best sailors have dedicated years, decades even, in trying to win it.
The race’s concept is simple: it’s a round-the-clock, relentless pursuit of competitive edge and the ultimate ocean marathon, pitting the sport’s best sailors against each other across the world’s toughest waters.
In 2017-18, there is a renewed emphasis on the Southern Ocean and a new set of rules too – incentivizing mixed crews of male and female sailors and more strategic innovation out on the racecourse.
The Volvo Ocean Race will start from Alicante, Spain on 22 October 2017 and finishes in The Hague, Netherlands in June 2018.