27 January 2015: Dongfeng Race Team has become the first team from China to win a leg of the Volvo Ocean Race – triumphing in its home port of Sanya.
With its success in the third stage, the determined team also takes the overall lead in the 12th edition of the round the world challenge, with six legs still to go before the race finishes in Gothenburg, Sweden in June.
Crowds of fans waited on the dockside for the local heroes to cross the finish line shortly after 07:30 local time on 27 January, taking an emphatic 50 nautical mile lead on the closest contenders.
“It’s the most stressful leg I’ve ever done in my life,” said skipper Charles Caudrelier, who is leading a half Chinese, half international crew.
“We had to arrive first here, it was very important for me, for the project. We’re so proud. One year ago we were here just discovering the Chinese rookies, they didn’t know anything about this kind of boat, and now they’ve won a leg.”
Having taken nail-bitingly close runner-up positions in the first two legs, Dongfeng Race Team is now just ahead of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing on the scoreboard. It was the Emirati boat’s turn to take second place in Leg 3, followed by Team Alvimedica.
Ahead of the 4,670 nautical mile leg, all the skippers spoke about how tough it was going to be – with hidden perils posed by man-made debris and busy shipping lanes to navigate through the Gulf, the Bay of Bengal, Malacca and Singapore Straits and South China Sea.
Fortunately all six competing Volvo Ocean 65 boats are equipped with satellite communications equipment from race partner Inmarsat, delivering cutting-edge safety services and vessel tracking via Inmarsat C, and high-speed voice and data communications via FleetBroadband. The crews also have an IsatPhone 2 satellite phone in their liferaft pack.
Volvo Ocean Race: www.inmarsat.com/vor