25 June 2018: In the closest fought edition of the Volvo Ocean Race’s 45-year history, Dongfeng Race Team secured the overall race title in the closing minutes of the final 700 nautical mile (nm) Leg from Gothenburg to The Hague, crossing the Inmarsat Finish line in first place.
The team saved the best to last in the 45,000 nm extreme offshore sailing competition, winning a Leg race for the first time to claim the number one place on the podium. It is also the first time a Chinese-flagged boat has won the race while crew members Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou become the first women sailors to win the Volvo Ocean Race.
At the start of Leg 11 it was a dead heat between Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE and Team Brunel, but it was a risky move separating Dongfeng from the rest of the fleet and seeing them lag behind that eventually paid off.
“We knew that we would fall behind initially and that if it came good it would only be at the end. The last position report (1300 UTC on Sunday) we were 27-miles from the finish and they were 20-miles and we thought it was over. But then I did a small weather routing and it showed we could end up one-mile ahead so I woke everyone up and said, ‘let’s push!’” said skipper Charles Caudrelier.
“We always trusted each other. Nobody thought we were going to win this last leg, but I had a good feeling,” an emotional Caudrelier said, after thanking his supporters and team. “I said ‘we can’t lose, we can’t lose, we can’t lose’… and we won!”
A third place win for MAPFRE just 16 minutes later saw the Spanish team take overall second place in the race series with Team Brunel taking third place.
Throughout the nine-month-long Volvo Ocean Race, Inmarsat has been the proud Official Satellite Communications Partner to the race.
Each Volvo Ocean 65 boat is kitted out with our FleetBroadband 500 and 250 terminals, enabling the Onboard Reporters to send back video footage and photos in near real-time, to share every second on the race with fans around the globe, thanks to our reliable, seamless, global connectivity.
At the end of every leg, the boat with the most engaging and compelling storytelling through social media has been given the Inmarsat Team Communication Award