Spanish team MAPFRE won Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race finishing in a typical, Cape Town south easter. After 7000 miles of non-stop racing, big breeze and neck on neck positioning, MAPFRE arrived in Cape Town slightly ahead of schedule in strong south easter winds.
“It’s amazing, we’re super-happy. We arrived here in one piece and in front of the others; we can’t ask for more,” skipper Xabi Fernández said moments after finishing.
Pipping DongFeng Race Team by a mere 3 hours, after some tactical manoevres that saw them drop into second, MAPFRE came away victorious.
At the end of the day it all came down to one gybe….
MAPFRE trailed Dongfeng Race Team on the long charge to the south, but last weekend, 14 days into the leg and after crossing the Doldrums, navigator Juan Vila and skipper Xabi Fernández put in a quick gybe to the southwest that Dongfeng didn’t match. It turned out to be a winning move; within hours the Spanish team had a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“A good second place,” said Caudrelier. “For sure at one moment we were hoping for better, but a few days ago it was much worse and we made a fantastic comeback.
“Well done to MAPFRE, they made less mistakes than us, but we never gave up, the crew never complained, they just worked on the comeback…”
Completing the podium is Vestas 11th Hour Racing, the winner of Leg 1. Skipper Charlie Enright’s team was always in the mix with the leaders on this leg, but couldn’t find a way to slip into the lead.
“We’re happy with a podium result against a lot of good teams,” Enright said, dockside in Cape Town. “We’re not satisfied yet with how we’re sailing the boat, so we still have a lot of work to do, but we’ll keep chipping away.”
It seems that the real “race” took place at the back of the fleet, where just metres separated sixth from seventh place on the race into Cape Town.
Akzonobel secured 5th place but were on edge with just 4 miles separating them from the last two boats.
On the approach to Cape Town, skipper David Witt’s Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag led Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic by two miles. But after sailing into the swirling, shifting winds below Table Mountain, that narrow advantage was whittled away.
By the finish, Caffari had closed to within 0.1 nautical miles – less than 200 metres – at the end of a 7,000 nautical mile leg. But her team just couldn’t find a way to make the pass.
“We’ve had Scallywag in our sights since the equator crossing and that result is not what we deserved. We deserved more, I’m gutted for them,” Caffair said.
“We lost two miles today to them and then we got it back to a couple of boat lengths. Fair play to our guys to make it happen and that’s why I wanted the result to go the other way.”
Witt and his crew would withstand the assault and after sailing within sight of Turn the Tide on Plastic for most of the Leg, could finally exhale, crossing the finish line just over one-minute ahead.
The teams will take a much needed break and return for duty in the week of 4th December.
The In-port race takes place on 8th December and the start of Leg 3 starts on 10th December.
There’s a lot of action in the race village over the next few weeks, with many activities scheduled.
In keeping with the sustainability theme of this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, an Ocean Summit takes place on 7th and 8th December. Top local and international guest speakers, credible in their fields, will be speaking at the summit to raise the awareness of the state of our oceans and how we can help to turn the tide on plastic. A Cape Town stopover initiative with Consol Glass to “turn the tide on plastic and turn to glass”, is active in the village for the duration of the stopover. Hand in a plastic water bottle and receive a free glass, refillable water bottle. Fill up the bottles at a BlueWater filtered water station in the race village and in the V&A Waterfront.
The race village was opened on Friday, 24th November by V&A Waterfront CEO, David Green and WorldSport CEO Bruce Parker-Forsyth and the City of Cape Town.
1. MAPFRE — FINISHED — 15:10.33 UTC – 19 days, 01h:10m:33s
2. Dongfeng Race Team — FINISHED — 18:02.39 UTC – 19 days, 04h:02m:39s
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — FINISHED — 19:37.53 UTC – 19 days, 05h:37m:53s
4. Team Brunel — FINISHED — 00:14.47 UTC – 19 days, 10h:14m:47s
5. team AkzoNobel — FINISHED — 21:24.40 UTC – 20 days, 07h:24m:40s
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag — FINISHED — 21:55.21 UTC – 20 days, 07h:55m:21s
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic — FINISHED — 21:56.29 UTC – 20 days, 07h:56m:29s