News

Published: Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Four of the six Volvo Ocean Race boats suffered big hits as the Southern Ocean gave the fleet its roughest ride of the race in 12 dramatic hours.

Wild Night In The Southern Ocean For Volvo Ocean Race

(Photo by Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team)

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), Mapfre (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) all experienced Chinese gybes at some point during Monday and Tuesday but all three crews escaped injury despite the boats being knocked over on their sides for several minutes.

Wild Night In The Southern Ocean For Volvo Ocean Race 1

(Photo by Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team)

Dongfeng Race Team were first to reveal a Chinese gybe. “It took two to three hours to sort out the mess, the boat was on her side, we took 300 litres of water in to the boat through an air vent,” says onboard reporter Yann Riou.

“That will be a great and amusing story to share over a beer in Itajaí, or to my grandchildren in a few years time – but last night it was hell,” says Dongfeng Race Team Skipper Charles Caudrelier.

Wild Night In The Southern Ocean For Volvo Ocean Race 2

(Photo by Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team)

Then Team SCA were similarly upended.

“We ended up on the side for maybe two to four minutes before slowly getting back in the right position,” says Team SCA onboard reporter Anna-Lena Elled.

Wild Night In The Southern Ocean For Volvo Ocean Race 3

(Photo by Matt Knighton / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing)

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) also endured a drama-filled night, reporting two gybes during the night: a wild one in pitch black with a massive wipe out and then a “controlled” one at 30 knots.

The Emirati boat recovered to move within 8 nautical miles (nm) of leaders Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) with Mapfre in third, 26nm further adrift. Team SCA lost 38nm to fall 97.9nm behind the leaders Team Brunel.

Stress levels are high on all the boats, but on Dongfeng humour is restored when Caudrelier and Riou explain to Black (Liu Xue) that it really is called a Chinese Gybe – not just because they're Chinese.

www.volvooceanrace.com

Check out this footage of a Chinese gybe in the 2008-2009 VOR:

www.youtube.com/watch