Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Emotional welcome for Scallywag: Hong Kong boat arrives in Itajai for leg eight of Volvo Ocean Race

David Witt and his crew have only two days to prepare the boat for the journey to Newport as they continue to race after the loss of teammate John Fisher

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 2:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 10:19pm

The crew of Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag face a race against time to be ready for the start of leg eight of the Volvo Ocean Race after arriving in the Brazilian port of Itajai early on Friday morning (Hong Kong time).

A delivery crew was given an emotional round of applause by fans and crews from other boats as they brought the Volvo 65 into Itajai with the aim of preparing it for the start of leg eight from Itajai to Newport, Rhode Island on Sunday.

“We had a fantastic delivery crew, they joined us as the last moment, jumped on the opportunity and did some fantastic work together to get her here and once the boat hits dock it’s all hands on deck,” said Scallywag crew member Luke Parkinson.

“Basically, we need to do two weeks preparation in three days, it’s a big challenge in front of us but we have a solid crew to get the job done.”

Scallywag was forced to abandon leg seven of the race from Auckland after crew member John Fisher went overboard on March 26 about 1,400 miles from Cape Horn in South America. Scallywag headed for the safest landfall on the coast of Chile. The crew later decided to continue with the race.

Briton Fisher, 47, a close friend of Scallywag skipper David Witt, is presumed lost at sea.

“We had a fantastic reception and now we have to work flat out to get the boat on the start line,” said Scallywag navigator Libby Greenhalgh. “The boat is in relatively good shape and we hope to get it back on the water either the evening before or the morning of the start.”

Scallywag and crew members from other teams helped in unloading the boat on its arrival. Scallywag, however, will not be taking part in the in-port races in Itajai, with six teams on the starting line-up.

Missing sailor ‘finest human being and a true Scallywag’ – Hong Kong owner Lee Seng Huang pays tribute to John Fisher

Spain’s Mapfre, skippered by Xabi Fernández, is at the top of the leader board for the in-port series, with two race wins and three second place finishes to boast the most consistent podium results.

But just three points back is Dongfeng Race Team, winners of three races, but held back by one disappointing result in the China stop.

The two Dutch-skippered entries, Team AkzoNobel and Team Brunel, are battling for the final podium spot, with Simeon Tienpont’s AkzoNobel squad just one point ahead of Bouwe Bekking’s Brunel.

The Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series acts as a tiebreaking mechanism for the overall race leader board. And with just one point separating first from second place after seven legs of racing, the results here could be crucial by the time the race finishes in The Hague at the end of June.

‘Scallywags never give up!’ – Hong Kong boat to continue in Volvo Ocean Race in honour of lost sailor John Fisher

China’s Dongfeng leads the overall series by one point over Mapfre.

Dongfeng have 46 points to Mapfre’s 45 with leg seven winner Team Brunel third on 36 and leg six winner AkzoNobel fourth on 33. Scallywag, which won leg four from Melbourne to Hong Kong and were second in leg six, are fifth on 26 points ahead of Vestas (23 points) and Turn the Tide on Plastic (20).