39 days ago, they were in the middle of the Southern Ocean, their mast broken.
And today, May 7 at 02:03:00 UTC, Dongfeng Race Team triumphed in Leg 6 from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island, USA.
“I’d like to give our shore crew this victory.”
Charles Caudrelier’s voice shakes a bit. Maybe it’s the exhaustion – or the emotion.
“The goal for this leg was to be ready in Itajaí, and the shore crew did a fantastic job. They worked very hard to get this boat ready. I’m very proud of them and very happy to take this first place.
“I’m really, really happy. I’m very proud of my team.”
It’s been a weary, 5,010+nm long leg. A leg “with a tactical decision to make every day,” says Charles. A leg they started by breaking their water maker to finally take the lead on May 2 and never let it go.
“10 times we gained slowly, and every time the guys came back in a cloud or something like that. We weren’t very lucky. Every time we managed to have a small advance, we lost it!”
And the Frenchman, skipper of a mixed crew including four of his countrymen, two Chinese, a Swede and an American Onboard Reporter – Sam Greenfield, a local, turns to their direct competitor – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing which took second, three minutes behind Dongfeng.
Brunel was in third spot, a good finish for most, but not for skipper Bouwe Bekking!
After finishing in fifth place twice and in fourth place in Brazil, this podium result gives a sense of satisfaction to the Dutch team. Yet Bouwe admits his initial goal of winning the race is fading away – “the race is lost, we have to tell the public about that, because Abu Dhabi has an inaccessible lead now compared to us. Dongfeng still has a good chance.”
37 minutes and 45 seconds after Brunel, MAPFRE took fourth.
Official crossing times:
02:03:00 UTC – Dongfeng Race Team
02:06:25 UTC – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
02:56:40 UTC – Team Brunel
03:34:25 UTC – MAPFRE
Official elapsed times:
17d 09h 03min 00s – Dongfeng Race Team
17d 09h 06min 25s – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
17d 09 h 56min 40sec – Team Brunel
17d 10h 34min 25s – MAPFRE
Some Interesting stats from the leg:
Max speed (Over ground 15 min average registered this leg) 27 knots by Abu Dhabi
Wave Height Registered this leg
3 hr average – 2.29m
Max this leg – 2.7m by Dongfeng
24-hour run (Max distance sailed in 24h this leg)
484.4 nm by Dongfeng