Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Mapfre wins Around the Island Race as China’s Dongfeng takes overall lead

Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag finishes third after being the last boat to cross the start line

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 January, 2018, 7:32pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 January, 2018, 10:53pm

Mapfre won the second inshore event of the Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong In-Port Races on Sunday as China’s Dongfeng took weekend honours to join the Spanish boat at the top of the overall leader board.

Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag finished third in Sunday’s Around the Island Race after being the last boat to cross the start line, with the fleet now preparing for this week’s fifth leg to Guangzhou.

Dongfeng came second in Saturday’s HGC In-Port Race, and combined with Sunday’s second place, was declared the weekend winner. They earned seven points and, together with Mapre, are on 25 points in the overall standings. The Chinese boat, however, are ranked first overall because they won the most recent series – the Hong Kong in-port races.

Mapre had the best start and cruised to victory.

“With these inshore races you never know, because just as you can have the advantage one moment, the next you can lose it,” said Mapfre navigator Juan Vila. “Fortunately today it was more of a race in which the one in front always seemed to have better pressure. The transitions have also gone a little better for us and of course, the start and the moments afterward were key.”

Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier said they gained valuable advice from Hong Kong sailors who had taken part in previous Around the Island races.

“It was very tricky conditions today but we had a lot of good advice from local sailors and it helped us a lot,” said Dongfeng Race Team skipper Charles Caudrelier. “So I think we prepared it very well and the result is there, so that’s good.

“It is a very good result for us,” Caudrelier continued. “We are in the same position as the Mapfre crew which is full of inshore specialists, so I think we can be proud of the team’s performance.”

The race was watched by a sizeable spectator fleet. Light and variable wind soon after the start allowed the leading boats to break away as they found new wind pressure first. But it didn’t mean opportunities for passing later in the afternoon were closed off.

Scallywag was one of three boats that broke the line early and needed to turn back for the restart along with Team Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic.

It put them at an immediate disadvantage, but while Brunel had the best restart, it was Turn the Tide on Plastic who moved up the fleet to challenge the leading pack over the next 20 minutes.

However as the race progressed, Mapre and Dongfeng Race Team found the new favourable wind first and built a commanding lead over the others.

Behind the leading pair, it was team AkzoNobel and Turn the Tide on Plastic battling for third place early. But as the teams rounded the southern shore of the island, Scallywag and Team Brunel slipped through in the middle of the channel with better wind.

Scallywag went from last across the starting line to a third-place finish with Team Brunel just a couple hundred metres back.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing did not race this weekend and has announced it will not participate in Leg five to Guangzhou next week as the team coordinates repairs to its boat following an accident in the early hours of January 20 that resulted in the death of a mainland fisherman.