Dongfeng Race Team was the second of the Volvo Ocean 65’s to cross the Artemis Challenge finish line, four minutes behind Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and ahead of Team SCA. Today’s Artemis Challenge, a 50-mile race around the Isle of Wight, has been the very first opportunity for ‘Dongfeng’ to line up against the Volvo Ocean Race competition.
Dongfeng Race Team completed the Artemis Challenge course in a time of five hours, three minutes and 46 seconds. This was the first time since the beginning of the Chinese campaign that Charles Caudrelier and his crew have found themselves within such close proximity to their competitors: 'We’re not going to put too much pressure on ourselves but, for sure, it’s important to us,' explained Caudrelier. 'This is the first time we’ve see the other teams and the first time we’ve performed in race mode as a team.'
Bruno Dubois, Dongfeng Race Team’s Director, was out on the water when his team crossed the finish line. 'We know we have a young team and we know that out of all the teams we have the least experience. I’m not expecting miracles but I’m confident we will see progress and eventually results. I am happy with the outcome from today’s challenge.'
A fleet of ocean going racing machines from the 70ft multihull Oman Sail Musandam to the 33ft Beneteau Figaro IIs took part in today’s Artemis Challenge. Dongfeng were part of the winning group A and a share of the £10,000 charity prize fund will be donated to Dongfeng Race Team’s nominated charity Race for Water.
Today’s Artemis Challenge has been a nice, light airs, warm up. But with the Round Britain and Ireland Race start just days away, and the Volvo Ocean Race starting in less than two months, there is much more to come – and it won’t always be as tame, amicable or rewarding as today. Dongfeng Race Team website