28 February 2018: An epic Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race saw the teams pushed to extremes – from the wet and wild upwind conditions of the start through the stifling heat and calms of the doldrums, leading to an incredibly close finish in Auckland, New Zealand.
Team AkzoNobel was the eventual victor, racing 6,344 miles from Hong Kong to Auckland in 20 days, 9 hours and 17 minutes and 26 seconds to bag their first leg win.
With only miles to go the finish line, five boats were within sight of each other, charging towards the finish line under a bright moon. SHK/Scallywag took second place with MAPFRE completing the podium. Dongfeng Race Team and Turn the Tide on Plastic finished just minutes later, with Team Brunel completing the arrivals.
Vestas 11th Hour Race did not sail in Leg 6 after being shipped to Auckland for repairs.
“It’s been a 6,500 mile match race, it’s unreal,” said AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont. “I’ve never sailed a race like this in my life. We’ve always been in each other’s sights. It’s been neck and neck.”
Fans of the race around the world were able to track the boats as they fought it out at the finish. As Satellite Communications Partner for the Volvo Ocean Race, Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity brings the race to life, as well as providing critical safety services and weather updates.
Every Volvo Ocean 65 is equipped with Inmarsat C, the only GMDSS-approved satellite safety service, FleetBroadband for always-on voice and broadband services and IsatPhone 2 satellite phones for the boats’ liferaft grab bags.
Following the in-port race on 10 March, the teams will prepare for the Leg 7 start on 18 March. Follow all the action at volvo.inmarsat.com.