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Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Volvo Ocean Race: Scallywag owner Lee Seng Huang proud of crew after bittersweet finish for Hong Kong team

The Sun Hung Kai executive was on the boat for the final leg of a difficult race during which they lost beloved crew member John Fisher

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 June, 2018, 5:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 June, 2018, 10:33pm

The owner of Hong Kong boat Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag said he was proud of skipper David Witt and his crew after they completed the 45,000-mile Volvo Ocean Race in The Hague, Netherlands.

Lee Seng Huang, group chief executive chairman of Sun Hung Kai & Co and owner and sponsor of the boat, was part of the crew that finished sixth in the 11th and final leg from Gothenburg in Sweden to The Hague.

Although Scallywag finished second last in the overall standings, having won leg four to Hong Kong and finishing second in leg six to Auckland, Lee was happy with their performances.

“It’s a real privilege to be sailing with the team,” said Lee. “The Scallywag team has done very well, and was running third ahead of some of the race leaders up to Auckland.

“The last few results have not been the best with some bad luck and bad weather, but after what happened to Fish [crew member John Fisher], our main focus was not so much the results but to have a strong finish. I am very proud of our achievement.”

Briton Fisher, 47, a close friend of Australian Witt, went overboard about 1,400 miles from Cape Horn in South America during leg seven from Auckland to Itajai, in Brazil.

Dongfeng becomes first Chinese boat to win Volvo Ocean Race; David Witt, of Hong Kong’s Scallywag, just happy to finish

Despite rescue efforts, authorities said Fisher was presumed lost at sea and Scallywag abandoned the leg. They returned to action in time for the start of leg eight from Itajai to Newport in the United States but were ill-prepared for the journey.

From then on it was simply a case of finishing the race.

China’s Dongfeng Race Team took overall honours, becoming the first mainland-owned boat to win the globe’s most famous round-the-world race.

Scallywag sailor John Fisher ‘presumed lost at sea’ – crew of Hong Kong boat heartbroken

Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier, of France, executed a daring move on the stretch to The Hague, choosing a coastal route while main rivals for the overall title, Spain’s Mapfre and Dutch boat Team Brunel, decided to come in from the east.

The gamble paid off for Dongfeng, which finished on 72 points – two ahead of Mapfre with Brunel third on 69 points.

Another Dutch team, Team AkzoNobel, was fourth (59 points) followed by Vestas 11th Hour Racing (39), Scallywag (32) and Turn the Tide on Plastic (TTP, 32). Scallywag finished ahead of TTP because they performed better during in-port races.

‘To say I feel responsible is an understatement’: Skipper of Hong Kong’s Scallywag David Witt talks about death of John Fisher

Lee was silent on whether he would make another attempt on the race in the next edition, while Witt said it was something to discuss at a later time.

“[The crew] are all talking about going again next time but I’ll have a few beers with the owner and see what happens,” said Witt.