Volvo Ocean Race – Team Vestas Wind Wins Leg 0

VOR bowSeven Volvo Ocean Race boats lined up alongside each other last Friday for the first time for Leg Zero, a two-day race to the Balearic Islands and back.

The first competitive meeting (400nm) of all seven teams would provide both the crews and the race organisers the opportunity to size up each other before the Volvo Ocean Race starts next month.

Before the Leg Zero race began, the teams ran through a series of emergency procedures such as man overboard, major equipment failure and so on.

While Leg 0 does not count towards the Volvo Ocean Race itself, it is a really important test for each team and a chance to improve and work on a few things with just weeks to go before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Although they entered the race last, and have been playing catch-up for the past two month, Team Vestas Wind won the race – by a mere 10 seconds. Five of the seven boats arrived within 20 minutes of each other.

The race did serve up some drama, including a man – and sail – overboard. Plus SCA, the all-girl team, missed one of the final inshore marks in Alicante Bay and had to turn around to complete the course. “It was very frustrating how I hadn’t read the instructions properly,” commented Sam Davies.

“There was no question about it: we had to turn around, repair our error and get straight back into the race. We were gutted, but no one was depressed or anything – we knew this race had a lot of opportunities to come back.”

Sixth-placed Dongfeng Race Team experienced more than their fair share of excitement when they were forced to rescue a foresail after it slipped overboard, and then Chinese sailor Jin Hao Chen (Horace) was forced to hold on to a halyard line after falling off the boat around midnight while working on an outrigger.

Arrival times
1. Team Vestas – 06:34 local (04:34 UTC)
2. Team Brunel – 06:34:10 local (04:34:10 UTC)
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 06:46:25 local (04:46:25 UTC)
4. Team Alvimedica – 06:50:58 local (04:50:58 UTC)
5. Team SCA – 06:53:56 local (04:53:56 UTC)
6. Dongfeng Race Team – 07:09:20 local (05:09:20 UTC)
7. Team España –  14:27:56 local (12:27:56 UTC)