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Volvo Ocean Race - Boat designed for racing or for torment?

'A tough storm hit the team this weekend'    Dongfeng Race Team

From onboard reporter, Allan, who finds himself in at the deep end (literally):

‘Who in their right mind invented this crazy race?’ said Horace. I am thinking the same thing… Is this boat designed for racing or for torment? Imagine you are siting or standing on a roller coaster doing your office job; or for the boys who working on deck, as cold water pours over them all the time, cold, cold wind – you can’t imagine how hard it is. I couldn’t sleep last night, the boat went through the water, bouncing on every wave, the noise just like the thunder only couple of centimeters away from your head, and I hated my bunk. But today I love my bunk because that is the only place you can be confortable There is nowhere else onboard you can stand still for even just one single second. Are we here to prove we are the toughest men? But we are only human…'

It’s a baptism of fire for Allan but this is a dress rehearsal for the Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s most extreme fully crewed round the world race. It is no picnic and the past two days have been a ‘wake up’ call of the most extreme nature for the crew on Dongfeng, hit by a full on storm over the weekend at the start of their transatlantic from Newport, USA to Lorient, France. Wind strength peaked at 45 knots – something the Chinese sailors (Wolf, Horace and Kong) have never experienced before.

The testing conditions have taken their toll on man and machine… From skipper Charles Caudrelier: 'We had a hard time with 45 knots [83kph] and super rough sea state because we’re in the Gulfstream with the wind going against the current. We sailed with three reefs and J2 headsail all the night – not fast but safe after a few problems. The starboard carbon tiller fitting came off, it was the leeward rudder, so I lost control and broached in 35 knots.'

Horace, Wolf and Kong are digging deep, as the Atlantic throws Mother Nature at them: 'You don’t have time to think out here,' said Wolf. 'Everything happened so fast and within seconds the boat is on its side in high waves and you know something has gone wrong. It’s pretty incredible watching Charles and the team immediately jump into action and fix the problem'

The damage, including damage to the third reef clew, has been repaired and the latest report from Dongfeng is all is well, as the wind decreased to under 20 knots. But not for long, as the wind strength is set to increase again in the next 24 hours which Charles and the crew will use this to their advantage to make some northerly gain and closer to the direct route to Lorient.

Jin Hao Chen (Horace) rinses his face with fresh water -  Dongfeng Race Team  

A tough storm hit the team this weekend and these are the photos from onboard -  Dongfeng Race Team  

Day 2 Onboard Dongfeng during the transatlantic -  Dongfeng Race Team  

Day 2 Onboard Dongfeng during the transatlantic -  Dongfeng Race Team  

Day 2 Onboard Dongfeng during the transatlantic -  Dongfeng Race Team  

Dongfeng Race Team
Volvo Ocean Race

by Dongfeng Race Team


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5:44 PM Mon 2 Jun 2014GMT

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2014 -15 Volvo Ocean Race

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