AUCKLAND – For team AkzoNobel and SHK/Scallywag, the buffer they’d built up over the past week was only just sufficient, and they were able to match race down the coast all the way to the finish line in the Waitemata Harbour, usually sailing within hailing distance of each other. In the end, the margin at the finish was just two minutes between first and second place, with less than a half hour separating the top five teams as they finished in the early morning (Feb 28, local time).
“I’ve never sailed a race like this in my life,” said AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont. “We’ve always been in each other’s sights. They were always there. It’s been neck and neck. Huge respect to Scallywag, they never stopped fighting and we never stopped defending. I’m so proud of our crew. They never flinched.”
It’s the first leg win for team AkzoNobel and earns the team an important 8 points on the leaderboard.
Congrats also to series leader MAPFRE, who had their own match race into Auckland with arch-rival and second-overall Dongfeng Race Team. “It’s been a crazy 20 or 21 days, match racing all the way here,” said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández. “We’ve been fighting with Dongfeng like crazy. We never stopped, we fought so hard, and now we feel very happy of course. We were hoping for opportunities in the doldrums and they never came, but finally they came today, and we did it.”
Full story via the VOR website here.
Overall standings after Leg 6 into Auckland.