Published: Wednesday, 10 December 2014

As the sailors of the Volvo Ocean Race enter the 21st day at sea, frustration is etched upon the faces of the Dongfeng Race Team as they slowly lose sight of close competitors Team Brunel. The Dutch and the Chinese have been in-sight of one-another for 18 days now, a rare thing in round the world offshore racing. There’s no telling what will happen in the 783 nautical miles left to the finish in Abu Dhabi, but for now it’s a world of disappointment and frustration onboard Dongfeng.

Dongfeng Race Team So Near Yet So Far 1

Little appetite, lack of sleep, aching bodies and even the smallest of tasks become that little bit harder. So how do they keep going? Well, lack of choice for starters. They can’t just step off a boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean, so this in itself is a good incentive to keep moving forwards. Then of course, there’s the choice of becoming a sailor. Like any professional sport there is only a selection of people that can sail around the world in a race like the Volvo Ocean Race and it’s times like these (day 21 of Leg 2 out of 9 legs) that it takes a certain type of person to dig deep and find that motivation to keep competing.

“For the shore team it’s easy for us to watch the tracker and be thrilled with how well they’re doing,” says Team Director, Bruno Dubois. “When in reality they’re onboard and couldn’t be more frustrated with their current situation. The level of competitiveness onboard is remarkable.”

Dongfeng Race Team So Near Yet So Far 2

Second behind Brunel by 11.8 nautical miles, the Team is desperately trying to outperform the leader with, as it stands, little or no success. The Team gained a mile on their Dutch rivals in the latest position report – it may not seem like much but it’s a psychological boost nonetheless.

The fleet is pointing north towards Abu Dhabi as the upwind drag race to the finish plays out. Wind is expected to pick up during the day and this evening the three leading boats can expect between 16-22 knots. It’s fair to say that Caudrelier and his crew exceeded expectations during the first leg coming in to Cape Town just 12 minutes behind leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Dongfeng Race Team So Near Yet So Far 3

The question is, how close is it going to be this time?

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