The Volvo Ocean Race finish..

Monday, 25 June 2018 14:52:44 Europe/London



The sailing heroes of the Volvo Ocean Race were received by thousands of enthusiastic water sports fans in Scheveningen – Holland on Saturday June 23rd. In the closest finish in race history, Dongfeng Race Team has won the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18. Skipper Charles Caudrelier led his team to victory in the final leg of the race, a 970-mile sprint from Gothenburg, Sweden to The Hague. It was a thrilling final leg with three teams competing for the overall victory.

Never before in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race was the final leg so exciting. The eleventh and last Volvo Ocean leg started last Thursday in Gothenburg with three teams, Mapfre, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel all on equal points. It was very simple: the team that sailed first across the finish line off the coast of Scheveningen would be the winner.

Bouwe Bekking, participating in his eighth Volvo Ocean Race campaign, and his Brunel crew, fought right to the finish line for overall victory.

 Team Brunel Volvo Ocean Race

Credit Sam Greenfield / Volvo Ocean Race

With a group of the very best professional sailors from all round the globe, Brunel started the Volvo Ocean Race on October 22, 2017  in Alicante with a mixture of youthful exuberance and the very best seasoned and experience sailors. According to skipper Bekking some of the 'young dogs' on board, including debutant Carlo Huisman and American Peter Burling (Olympic champion and America's Cup winner), still have a lot to learn. This campaign will stand to them for evermore.

The tension could be felt when the fleet started Leg 3 to Melbourne. "This leg separates the boys from the men and girls from the women," said veteran Bouwe Bekking just before their departure. The first real confrontation with the brutal Southern Ocean didn’t not take long with the fleet ending up in wind speeds of up to 60 knots. The sailors fight against waves as high as an apartment building. And wind speeds where you’d prefer not to be on the high seas. But they have no choice – they’re out there fully exposed to the force of mother nature. Fortunately 6 out of the 7 crews were equipped with the very best performance footwear in this race wearing their Dubarry Crosshaven off-shore sailing boots to protect them from the elements.

By Christmas when Brunel lay in fourth position in Melbourne, Bekking blamed himself that he and his team had sailed too conservatively. " It is constantly a balance between result and risk. "

On the next leg to Hong Kong over 6,000 nautical nautical miles, it was underdog Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag that surprisingly finished first into their home base in Hong Kong.

During the passage of the windless Doldrums the Scallywag team was in a last hopeless position,  until skipper David Witt took up his magic hat and chose a completely different course than the rest of the race boats. Brunel ended in fifth position. "The other teams simply sailed faster," Bekking observed. Just before the finish of Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a drama arises when the Volvo Ocean racer hits a fishing boat and sadly a Chinese fisherman lost his life.

On February 5th the fleet started the 6th  leg towards Auckland New Zealand. After 6000 nautical miles and 20 days at sea there is a Dutch success: Team AkzoNobel with skipper Simeon Tienpont won with Brunel in a disappointing last place finish, after a tactical error at New Caledonia. The criticism of Bekking and his team began to rise.

The next leg started on March 18 and to the Brazilian port of  Itajaí. It was the leg that will go down in the history books of sailing as being truly heroic and especially memorable. The passage across the Southern Ocean under heavy conditions is a huge challenge for the sailors and tragically claimed the life of John Fisher from team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag.

Bouwe Bekking and his team won the leg, but in reality everybody’s  thoughts are with John, his team-mates and especially his family  

The eighth leg took the fleet 5700 nautical miles to the north towards Newport, led for most of the voyage by Brunel but they were just beaten at the finish by the Spanish entrant Mapfre. '' Sailing is a cruel sport, '' Bekking reacted with disappointment, but Team Brunel still managed to climb into third place in the ranking and were back again challenging for a podium position.

From Newport they set off across the Atlantic for the 1300 nautical mile trip to Cardiff in Wales with  Brunel managing to win and thereby reducing the points difference with leaders Mapfre and Dongfeng.

Skipper Bouwe Bekking and his crew were glad to have their Dubarry Crosshaven offshore sailing boots for that final Atlantic crossing. This high performance  sailing boot was specially developed by the Dubarry Product Development team in cooperation with previous Volvo Ocean Race sailors and offers the ultimate in performance required by professional sailors. Crosshaven offers GORE-TEX product technology, DryFast-DrySoft ™ leather, a fixed gaiter and the ultimate in on-deck grip.

Team Brunel Volvo Ocean Race

Credit Sam Greenfield / Volvo Ocean Race

Unfortunately for the Dutch sailing fans Team Brunel did not succeed in keeping the 'red boats' behind them. Dongfeng Race team were overall winners with Brunel finishing in third position.
Nevertheless Scheveningen celebrated their heroes from Brunel and especially the sailing legend that is Bouwe Bekking.  


Volvo Ocean Race Overall Points Leaderboard after Leg 11

1. Dongfeng Race Team – 73 points

2. MAPFRE – 70 points

3. Team Brunel – 69 points

4. team AkzoNobel – 59 points

5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 39 points

6. SHK / Scallywag – 32 points *

7. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 32 points *


* Should there be a tie on the overall race leaderboard at the end of the offshore legs, the In-Port Race Series standings


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