From China, and to China, with fury. The French/Chinese of Dongfeng Race Team, with skipper Charles Caudrelier, took a historic victory for the Asian country in the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. After leading for almost the entirety of the race Dongfeng Race Team, with two Chinese national sailors on board, crossed the finish line in Sanya at 07:31:38 local time (24:31 Italian time) on Jan. 27.
After leading the fleet for 22 days out of the more than 23 days of total sailing, with the passage of Hormuz, sailing through the Indian Ocean, passing Sri Lanka and crossing the Bay of Bengal, the busy and treacherous Strait of Malacca, and ascending the South China Sea Dongfeng Race Team crossed the finish line in Sanya, on the tropical island of Hainan in China with a good lead. This is the first time in the more than 40-year-long history of round-the-world sailing that a boat flying the flag of the great Asian country and with two sailors of Chinese nationality has achieved a victory right on Chinese soil. Before Dongfeng, the Chinese/Irish team Green Dragon in the 2008/09 edition and Team Sanya in 2011/12 had tried it
KIT AND BLACK, FROM LAYMEN TO OCEAN CHAMPIONS
A relieved skipper Charles Caudrelier as soon as he crossed the line said, “This is the most stressful leg I’ve ever done in my life.. But the result is fantastic! It was tough, a long stage, and it was very difficult to stay in the lead. Every time we could get some margin, the group came back under us. This project is fantastic, we got an important result for China, for Chinese sailing, and we are very proud of it.” Caudrelier also wanted to pay tribute to the two Chinese sailors on board, Cheng Ying Kit (‘Kit’) and Liu Xue (‘Black’), who until a year ago had never even spent a night at sea: “A year ago we were here in Sanya to meet the Chinese crew members for the first time. When I look now at how far we’ve come together … now they’ve become great sailors.”
SECOND ABU DHABI, THIRD ALVIMEDICA
In second place at the finish line is expected around 4 a.m. Italian time Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, led by British Olympian Ian Walker and winner of the first leg, while in third position should come the young crew of Team Alvimedica, with the only Italian round-the-world sailor Alberto Bolzan, protagonist of an excellent fraction. MAPFRE’s Spaniards and Team Brunel’s Dutch follow, while SCA’s women’s crew is expected to finish in the evening. In addition to the pride of a home win, the French/Chinese team also gets a result that puts it at the top of the provisional overall standings after three legs with 5 points, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is second one point behind and Team Brunel occupies the third position.