The Spanish team has arrived in Hong Kong, where they finished Leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 in fourth place. MAPFRE crossed the finish line at 09:51 local time (02:51 h in Spain) after 17 days 22 hours 36 minutes and 10 seconds. Xabi Fernández’s team maintain their leadership of the round-the-world race with four points’ advantage over the Chinese team, skippered by Charles Caudrelier, who finished second.
After 18 days of sailing in the Pacific and 6000 miles between Melbourne (Australia) and Hong Kong, MAPFRE crossed the finish line this morning in fourth place. The leg has been, without a doubt a true challenge; where crossing the equator, and the Doldrums became a true puzzle for the fleet, and yet the final result has enabled Xabi Fernández’s team to hold on to their general leadership of the round-the-world race.
“Conditions have been really tough,” Cantabrian sailor Pablo Arrarte explained on arrival to the dock,
“the Doldrums were not at all clear, and perhaps there were signs that there was a northern tendency, and yet we weren’t so keen to follow it, so maybe this was the reason we were left a little behind the leading three boats.”
Joan Vila added, “in the Doldrums we were left a little behind due to the time we spent in the doldrums, a little worse than the leading three boats we were part of, and we were in the worst area to get through them. One of them passed through the west, the others not so well but better than us to the east, and from then on it was quite difficult to aim for a podium position, even though we did our best to do so.”
Despite the fact that when entering the northern trade winds MAPFRE was quite far from the leading group, Xabi Fernández’s team continued pushing hard to get the most out of their boat until reaching Hong Kong. A full effort from the team, which has meant the team could hold on to their overall position ahead of Brunel and Turn The Tide On Plastic, defending their overall leadership with four points advantage over the Chinese team, skippered by Charles Caudrelier.
“At times you have to be a little more stubborn, and not let yourself be led by what you feel is better, and in this leg it has been a true lesson. As far as everything else is concerned, we knew that the moment when we wouldn’t make a podium position would arrive. We knew that the leg was tricky and it wasn’t one of those legs where perhaps there were more opportunities for everyone. I actually think that it has been a really good thing that Scallywag has won this leg, and didn’t get between Dongfeng and us, and if we look at the overall classification, the points aren’t bad for us,” concludes Arrarte.
The leg victory this time went to the local team, David Witt’s Scallywag, who crossed the finish line with a three-hour advantage over Dongfeng and almost seven over AkzoNobel; second and third place respectively.
Sweets and fresh food
In the last few days the desire to be finally on solid ground was more than obvious, after a leg where the Doldurms, the lack of wind, the clouds, storms, and heat have not given Basque skipper Xavi Fernández’s crew a moment’s rest, as they counted down the hours to crossing the finish line.
Reaching the dock and solid land after 17 days at sea is a true gift, and the smiles, hugs and jokes on board made it more than obvious. Clearly thinner but each of the crew of MAPFRE had a huge smile on their faces.
Galician sailor Támara Echegoyen when asked what she most wished to do, responded,
“The first thing has already been accomplished; to eat a sweet!! I’ve been thinking about it for over 15 days and I’ve finally been able to taste it,” she said smiling.
So what next?
“Now we are going to try to rest as much as we can, recover our bodies as much as we can after these long legs, and get ready for the next one. So it is about enjoying the rest, a good bed, a good shower and getting to know Hong Kong a little if we have time, and if not, to keep working.”
Reaction regarding the collision of a rival with a local fishing boat
The most important news of the day was the collision of the VO65 Vestas 11th Hour Racing with a local fishing boat when it was just 30 miles from the finish line, and in second place. Sadly, and according to information from the event organisation this morning, the collision resulted in the fatality of a crew member of the fishing boat.
MAPFRE, as a competing team in the Volvo Ocean Race, wishes to offer their most sincere condolences for the family and loved ones of the deceased.
MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race wish to offer our most sincere condolences to the family and loved ones to the deceased as well as offering our full support to the Vestas team in such difficult times.
Xabi Fernández, skipper
It has been a difficult leg for us, as it has been for us all. The result was tricky but actually it isn’t so bad. We know that in this edition, a boat such as Scallywag, AkzoNobel and others, which up until now were a little further behind, are now going to be up in the midst of the fight, up among those of us which until now have been ahead. I think in a certain way it is really good that Scallywag have won this leg, and didn’t’ come between Dongfeng and ourselves, and if you look at the overall classification, at this point, it isn’t such a bad thing for us, and so we are happy.
Joan Vila, navigator
In the Doldrums we got left a little behind, as we went through them worse than the others, who were part of the leading three boats we were in, and we were in the worst area to get through. One of us went to the west, and the others not so well, but better than us, to the east, and from then on in it was pretty tough for us to aspire to a podium position, although we did our best to make it happen.
Pablo Arrarte, watch captain
I think you can have problems in any leg, you can do a bad job of it and stuff, but the good thing is in this leg we had really tough, strange and unpredictable conditions. And so we prefer that it has happened here and not in the Southern Ocean, so we feel we did a good job. It is good for the race and for us; a boat which in other legs hasn’t been ahead has won a leg. This is a good reason for the teams to see the people and their own teams and boats as equal, and if you make the smallest mistake any of the boats is good enough to beat you.
MAPFRE IN LEG 4
Maximum distance in 24h: 486.36 miles. Average speed 20.3 knots
Arrival time: 02:51:10 Spanish time (09:51:10 local time)
Duration: 17d 22h 36min 10s
Miles sailed: 6,247.8
Average speed in the leg: 14.5 knots
LEG 4 RESULTS
- Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG, David Witt). 17d 14h 30m 42s
- Dongfeng Race Team (CHN, Charles Caudrelier). 17d 17h 18m 22s
- Team AkzoNobel (NED, Simeon Tienpont). 17d 21h 06m 16s
- MAPFRE (ESP, Xabi Fernández). 17d 22h 36min 10s
- Team Brunel (NED, Bouwe Bekking). 18d 00h 45m 56s
- Turn The Tide on Plastic (Naciones Unidas, Dee Caffari). 18d 01h 39m 00s
RET Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA/DEN, Mark Towill).
OVERALL VOLVO OCEAN RACE 2017-18 after 4 legs
- MAPFRE (ESP, Xabi Fernández), 33 puntos
- Dongfeng Race Team (CHN, Charles Caudrelier), 29 puntos
- Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA/DEN, Charlie Enright), 23 puntos
- Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG, David Witt), 19 puntos
- Team Brunel (NED, Bouwe Bekking), 17 puntos
- Team AkzoNobel (NED, Simeon Tienpont), 14 puntos
- Turn The Tide on Plastic (Naciones Unidas, Dee Caffari), 8 puntos