Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

‘Greatest victory?’ – David Witt and Scallywag retain lead on home stretch to Hong Kong

Stealth mode is lifted for all boats after the Hong Kong yacht came within 200 nautical miles of the finish, with Vestas and Dongfeng chasing hard

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 5:03pm

Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag passed the 200-nautical mile mark on Friday before the finish line at Victoria Harbour in the Volvo Ocean Race, which meant stealth mode for all boats ended to reveal David Witt and his crew still in the lead and heading home.

A tense final 600 miles saw boats going into stealth mode one after another, with second-placed Vestas still off the radar as the Hong Kong boat reappeared. However, with less than 200 miles to go, all is revealed and it is Scallywag that holds the edge in a straight sprint to the finish line with Vestas eleventh hour Racing in second and China’s Dongfeng Race Team close behind in third.

“It will be the greatest yacht race I’ve ever won [if we win],” said Witt. “A wise man once said to me the way to win a yacht race is to eliminate the ways to lose it. We kept coming up with reasons to lose it and kept fighting back,” said skipper Witt.

The leading boats are expected to arrive in Hong Kong at around 2am on Saturday.

Witt later added: “I think it’s a good for some of our fans that we’ve been in Stealth Mode because there’s a few people who’d be having heart attacks if they knew how close it was. We are in front, we are leading, but it’s really close. The others don’t realise how close it is.

‘Pray for us,’ Scallywag skipper David Witt tells Hong Kong fans – ‘it’s so close people would have heart attacks’

“We haven’t trusted our weather routing software at all on this leg but now we want to because it says we’re going to beat Vestas in by an hour and a half. To all the Scallywag supporters in Hong Kong: say a prayer for us tonight.”

Scallywag was the first boat to gybe south and capture strong winds between Dalupiri and Fuga islands north of the Philippines. Dongfeng had chosen to go north of the islands but many of the other boats in the seven-strong fleet followed Scallywag’s route.