02 March 2015: Only eight minutes separated the top three boats as MAPFRE crossed the finishing line first on 28 February, making Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race one of the tightest fought legs in the race’s history.
Tens of thousands of fans came to welcome the boats to Auckland, known as the ‘City of Sails’, after 20 days of sailing 5,264 nautical miles from Sanya, China, to New Zealand – described as possibly the toughest stage of the race so far in terms of sea conditions, especially in the South China Sea.
With just four minutes 25 seconds to spare, MAPFRE was closely followed by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in second place, with Donfeng Race Team taking third position.
It is even more of a remarkable win for the Spanish team who suffered major setbacks throughout Leg 4, including a serious injury problem on board when crew member Guillermo ‘Wily’ Altadill badly hurt his hand.
“We’re super happy to be here, and of course, it was a very tough leg,” said Xabi Fernández, stand-in skipper for MAPFRE.
“We had a very hard last day especially, but we’re very happy to be here. We have improved a lot over the last two legs. We have a very good team and I hope we can now show to the world what we can do and keep doing it like this.”
With a different team winning each of the four legs so far results have been hard to predict, but Abu Dhabi is currently out in front, with Dongfeng in very close second place second place. For more detailed results check out the Volvo Ocean Race Scoreboard.
Following the in port race on 14 March, all six competing teams will set sail on Leg 5 of the race to Itajaí in Brazil the next day, often considered the heart and soul of the race through the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn.
As official Satellite Communications Partner for the Volvo Ocean Race, the teams are relying on Inmarsat for cutting-edge safety services and vessel tracking throughout the nine-month long, 38,739 nm adventure.
Inmarsat will also be making audio and video communications and social media access possible for the Onboard Reporters (OBRs), bringing the race alive to millions of fans following it worldwide.
Each Volvo Ocean 65 boat is equipped with FleetBroadband 500 (FB500), FleetBroadband 250 (FB250) and Inmarsat C safety terminals, and has an IsatPhone 2 satellite phone stowed in its liferaft pack.