Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

‘Measuring fingernails, breaking point, boorrring!’ – has Scallywag crew lost their minds or just happy to close in on Auckland?

Skipper David Witt says they are fully focused on their task as he unleashes a comical and satirical rant on how dull racing in slow conditions can be

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 February, 2018, 7:49pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 February, 2018, 11:09pm

Hong Kong’s Scallywag admit they are at “breaking point” in the sixth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race as they emerged from stealth mode in the lead, with skipper David Witt unleashing a comical and entertaining rant complaining about how “boorrring” it is during a slow slog through weak winds.

Although Scallywag are in the lead on the official tracker with about 250 miles to go to the finish line in Auckland, they believe that Team AkzoNobel are actually in front. AkzoNobel went into stealth mode while in the lead early on Monday and their true position will not be revealed until early on Tuesday.

While they enjoyed good winds over the past two days, the fleet is expected to hit a slow patch north of New Zealand when the boats are expected to compress down the final stretch.

In a Facebook post, the crew said it was frenzied and nervous and Witt appeared to have either lost it completely or is seeing the funny side of their journey from Hong Kong.

“Seriously, I honestly don’t really care anymore,” said Witt, who led the crew to an emotional leg-four victory from Melbourne to Hong Kong last month. “I just want to get in [to Auckland] I feel like I’ve been out here for three years.

“This has been the slowest, tedious, horrible leg because it is just so boorrring!” he said, almost singing. “Get up every day and it’s boorrring! Even running in the first couple is boorrring!

“Wonder what they’re doing on [last-placed] Brunel. I reckon they must be doing something like measuring their fingernails. See who’s got the longest fingernails, that’s how boorrring it’ll be back there.”

Witt then went on to mock one of the sport’s overused clichés as he looked to overtake AkzoNobel.

“Let’s just get to the finish and hopefully we can pull a rabbit out of the hat ... pull a lizard out of the drain ... pull a dolphin out of the sea ... and get ahead of AkzoNobel.”

Last week, the entire fleet decided to take a wider route down to New Zealand, turning west to catch an area of pressure and then moving south and passing by the west coast of New Caledonia.

Behind Scallywag were Turn the Tide on Plastic, about 10 miles back with China’s Dongfeng Race Team and overall leader Mapfre continuing their ding dong battle for third place. Team Brunel were last 170 miles adrift of the leader and struggling for speed.

However, there is hope for Dongfeng, Mapfre – both 113 miles in arrears – and Brunel with the leaders expected to hit slow winds soon. But it remains a frustrating time for Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking.

“I have to admit it is pretty painful to see every position report, loss after loss, not funny to be on the receiving end,” said Bekking.

“We can just hope that the centre of high pressure system will become totally stationary at the top of New Zealand and the others park up. So we keep pushing, knowing that the weather has often been doing very different things on this leg than the forecast.”

On their Facebook posting, a Scallywag crew wrote: “A lot of feelings, reflecting, frenzy and nerves with the Scallywags as they work through and come out of stealth mode. This leg has been an absolute test of patience and it is fair enough to say that everyone’s reaching their breaking point.

“Luckily, this does not stop the high and strong-willed spirits of the team as they keep pushing their way onwards until they reach the end destination for Leg 6: Auckland.”