Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, day four onboard Dongfeng Race Team. Thanks to Mother Nature, offshore racing is one of the most unpredictable sports around. If you can’t handle unpredictability, ecstatic highs and unfair lows then this sport is probably not for you.
Yesterday after a slick but risky move around the inside at the Shetland Islands, Dongfeng Race Team were challenging Team Campos for second place. One day later, and one more risky move on, they’re fighting to defend third place with Team SCA and Team Alvimedica in hot pursuit. In fact, by the time you’re reading this they could well have slipped to the back of the fleet, but then, with the guaranteed unpredictability of this sport who’s to say what will happen?
Mother Nature has ensured that, for the Round Britain and Ireland fleet, today’s racing has been a case of the rich getting richer at the front as the wind stayed favourable longer, Team SCA came right up from behind with a new more favourable wind, and both Team Alvimedica and our boys on Dongfeng got squeezed in the middle between the two. And the harsh truth is, with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Campos streaking ahead of the rest of the Volvo Ocean 65s it’s going to be very difficult for the three remaining teams to catch up. Not impossible but unlikely.
Far from being a disappointment, with only 50 days to go to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race from Spain, with a new class of identical One Design Volvo Ocean 65s, the three way match race now being played out with SCA and Alvimedica is a fantastic opportunity to test and learn at close quarters (in offshore terms). 'Sometimes you gain… Sometimes you lose… This is how the team feel today,' explains Team Director Bruno Dubois, 'the teams in front ran away and SCA came back on us from behind. Quite frustrating! But the good news is that we are all together and it is perfect time for ‘two-boat’ testing! We’ll enjoy this.'
'By no means are we going to stop chasing the leader. No way,' adds Charles Caudrelier, 'but we’re one sail down and we must think ahead to the start line in Alicante and use this time we have to get smarter.'
The team are appreciating the time ‘out of the washing machine’ and ‘into the dryer’ as Chinese sailor ‘Wolf’ Yang Jiru comments, 'I can eat normally, I can go to the toilet normally, I can get changed normally. We’re still sailing at 20knots but it’s like heaven now to me!'
Dongfeng Race Team still have 520 nautical miles to the finish line and the race isn’t over yet. In fact in Charles Caudrelier’s mind, it’s barely begun.
The Dongfeng Race Team showing some great team work and determination during the Round Britain and Ireland Race as they fight to defend their third place position. - Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team Click Here to view large photo
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