It’s been a whirlwind of a journey so far for Dongfeng Race Team since they left Newport last Friday, 30th May. With storm winds up to 45 knots, a power cut and a near collision with a whale, Charles and his team have had their fair share of excitement. Since our last update the team have been in a light spot with barely any wind, so what does one do for ‘downtime’ on a Volvo Ocean 65 in the middle of the Atlantic?
Skipper Charles Caudrelier at the helm of Dongfeng
Update from the Atlantic by Allan Lan:
'We’ve had rare good weather today, the sun is up, with light wind but the sea is relatively calm. It’s really ‘leisure time’ for us compared to the other days. We ‘bumped’ into the fog from the endless ocean and it felt like we are transcending through time and space. Dolphins jumped out of the ocean just tens of meters from us, we can also see the whales spouting water up from afar, thankfully. I think the sea creatures are too shy to get close to the mighty ’Dongfeng’. I saw a sea turtle, but it disappeared in no time by the time I turned on the camera – our boat is going too fast.
'Once the fog cleared the sailors finally got the chance to dry their wet weather gear under the sun. I can see the smile on the sailors’ faces. Everybody is enjoying the rare good weather, as we will have up to 40 knots of wind in front of us in the following days according to the weather forecast. Although I hate to eat pasta, but the pasta I had today seemed to be the best one during this journey, I even made myself a cup of hot tea after the meal. All the Chinese sailors feel a bit homesick, missing their family members and home comforts. The whole team has been eagerly looking forward to arrive in Lorient, the sooner the better.'
Positioned slap-bang mid-Alantic, Dongfeng has covered sailed over 1,300 miles in the past six days with over 1,500 to go. Having psychologically passed the halfway point, it is not surprising to hear the team are thinking already of their arrival in Lorient. Horace (Jin Hao Chen) misses his family amongst other things 'It’s already nearly six days since we set sail for Lorient. With the experience I gained from the first offshore training, I now find I can keep up the pace and work more closely with the Western sailors. For now, we can relax a bit and adjust the body and the mood.'
The team spirit grows stronger day by day, Dongfeng Skipper Charles Caudrelier: 'They are less afraid…and I think they have fun because we are downwind, and last time [in the Pacific] it was upwind. They are real crew member for us and there are always there when we have a problem.'
But the downtime will soon be over as a strong weather system lies ahead and the wet weather gear will be back in use!
You can follow the team’s progress on all social media channels and the team’s official website.
Volvo Ocean Race