Dongfeng win hard-fought In-Port Race over MAPFRE in Cape Town…
Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Dongfeng Race Team traded blows all the way around the first half of the Cape Town In-Port Race course on Friday afternoon, before the Chinese-French team finally grabbed the lead midway through the race and stretched away for their first win in the series.
The victory vaults puts skipper Charles Caudrelier’s team to second place on the leaderboard for the In-Port Race Series, just behind MAPFRE who retained the lead with a fightback race on Friday.
Conditions were spectacular on the waters off Cape Town, with wind near 20 knots, under bright, sunny skies. Boat handling was at a premium in the fresh conditions and on the first laps of the course, there were several very close crosses as the boats approached the turning gates.
On the second lap of the race course, Vestas 11th Hour Racing had difficulty furling their big A3 downwind sail at the bottom mark. It didn’t hurt them immediately but when they tried to deploy the sail at the final top mark, it wouldn’t fully unfurl, and the team was very slow on the final run. It cost them two places, as both MAPFRE and team AkzoNobel raced past.
It was a tremendous comeback for MAPFRE who were forced out at the starting line, turned back and were last to get across the line. But the team kept pushing its way up the fleet, finally pushing team AkzoNobel away with an aggressive luff near the final top mark, setting the table for the pass of Vestas 11th Hour Racing on the final run.
Further back, Brunel and Scallywag engaged in a luffing match early on the first run. The Umpires penalised Scallywag for an infraction and following the penalty turn, David Witt’s team were trailing the fleet.
At the finish, a hard-charging Brunel nearly stole a place from Turn the Tide on Plastic. But Dee Caffari’s team, who had a very strong start to the race, held on for fifth place.
Cape Town In-Port Race Results
- Dongfeng Race Team
3. team AkzoNobel
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic
6. Team Brunel
7. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag
Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series Leaderboard
- MAPFRE — 19 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team — 18 points
3. Team Brunel — 13 points
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — 12 points
5. team AkzoNobel — 11 points
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag — 6 points
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic — 5 points