Dongfeng Race Team Return To Water For Inshore Racing
Published: Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) breathed a huge sigh of relief on Monday after the boat arrived in Itajaí, southeast Brazil right on schedule ready for the refit of a new mast.
It has been a long journey for the stricken boat since the top of its mast fractured 200 nautical miles (nm) from Cape Horn in typically horrendous Southern Ocean conditions on Mar 30 during the treacherous Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí.
Suppliers, Southern Spars, transported a new mast from Dubai via Amsterdam to Brazil and despite some major logistical challenges, it arrived safely by Sunday.
The boat itself was sailed by a shore crew team plus two Chinese sailors under jury rig, under motor part of the time, for 2,000nm through the Southern Ocean and South Atlantic for its rendezvous in Itajaí with the new mast.
“Breaking the mast was a difficult moment,” says Dongfeng Race Team Skipper Charles Cauldrelier. “We lost the joint lead of the race. We lost eight points. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) are now far ahead and have a big advantage. It will be difficult to come back and we’re close in points with the boats behind – we could very well finish fifth.”
As they did not complete the leg, Dongfeng Race Team collected eight points to go seven behind stage victors Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard chief, Nick Bice and his team worked flat out with the Dongfeng Race Team shore crew to ensure the boat was ready for the weekend’s Team Vestas Wind Itajaí In-Port Race.
Thanks to the incredible effort of the shore team, Dongfeng is back in the water.
However, being on the start line and being 100% race ready in terms of performance are not the same thing.
Leg 6 sets off from Itajaí to Newport, Rhode Island on Sunday, Apr 19. There are three more legs to follow including the transatlantic trip from the US to Lisbon (Leg 7).