CARDIFF (#1029) – The Volvo Ocean Race is perhaps saving its best for last. After racing more than 40,000 nautical miles, and with only two legs remaining, the top three teams are separated by only three points. That makes Friday’s Sky Ocean Rescue In-Port Race that much more important.
At the end of Leg 9, Skipper Charles Caudrelier’s (FRA) Dongfeng Race Team took over the overall lead by just one point over Spanish-flagged MAPFRE. Team Brunel (NED) is two points back of MAPFRE in third.
That’s where the In-Port Race Series standings could come into play. If there are any ties on the overall leaderboard when the VOR finishes in The Hague at the end of the month, the final standings of the In-Port Race Series will be the tiebreaker.
MAPFRE, skippered by Xabi Fernández (ESP), currently holds the tiebreaker by virtue of leading the In-Port Race Series, with three wins and four second-place finishes. Dongfeng Race Team is eight points back after winning three in-port races. It was hurt by a disappointing result in the China stop.
The two Dutch-skippered entries, team AkzoNobel and Team Brunel, are battling for the final podium spot, with Bouwe Bekking’s (NED) Brunel, just one point ahead of Simeon Tienpont’s (NED) AkzoNobel.
There are three in-port races left. The Cardiff race will begin at 1400 local time Friday, with the Leg 10 start set for Sunday afternoon. That leg, which covers 1,300 nautical miles, will swing around Ireland and Scotland leaving them to starboard, and then then dip into the North Sea to Gothenburg, Sweden.
The Gothenburg in-port race will be on June 17. After that, the final leg to The Hague starts not on the normal Sunday but on Thursday, June 21 – Midsummer's Day, a major holiday in the Nordic countries. This final leg will cover just 700 nautical miles – the shortest of the 11 legs. The in-port race in The Hague, after the finish of the final leg, is on June 30.
After unexpectedly popping into the overall lead, Caudrelier has a simple outlook on the final weeks of the race:
“Stop thinking about math and the points. Just win.”
Dongfeng Race Team hasn’t won a leg, but has consistently finished in the top portion of the seven-yacht fleet on each stage.
“Winning this next leg would be very important for any of the three leading teams,” Caudrelier said. “But we haven’t won a leg yet and we’d love to do that. The pressure is maximum but we have to deal with it.”
Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series Leaderboard....
1. MAPFRE – 50 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team – 42 points
4. Team Brunel – 36 points
3. team AkzoNobel – 35 points
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 23 points
6. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag – 19 points
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 16 points
Below is the overall VOR Leaderboard with, again, any ties at the end of Leg 11 being broken by the In-Port standings above....