• 04-JUL-2018

Full recap, Volvo Ocean Race 2017/2018


This edited video will take you through the closest Volvo Ocean Race in the 45-year history of the event. Seven teams, with the best sailors in the world, racing for 45,000 nautical miles, with the outcome only decided in the final few miles...


Full Race Recap - English script

(Shots of inport race & podium)

The first competitive action of the 2017/2018 edition was the Alicante in port race which saw Mapfre send out an early warning to the rest of the fleet as they confirmed themselves as a race favourite, convincingly winning on home turf.

(Shots of Simeon Tienpont setting off from dock)

The road to the start wasn’t as smooth for Dutch entry team AkzoNobel, just days before the start of Leg 1 skipper Simeon Tienpont was replaced prompting a court case in the Netherlands that re-instated him just in time.

(Shots of Leg 1, Vestas winning, podium)

Leg 1 was a short sprint through the strait of Gibraltar to Lisbon. Vestas 11th Hour Racing held onto a small lead to take the win over Mapfre and Dongfeng Race Team, an intriguing start to the offshore action. 

(Tracker, big swells, David Witt quote, Cape Town)

Leg 2 was a classic, 7000 miles south through the doldrums to find the trade winds towards Cape Town. The fleet set off from Lisbon heading straight into 30 knot plus winds, the first real test for the teams and the boats, an early taste of what lay ahead in the southern ocean legs.

(Mapfre shots)

Mapfre once again showed pure boat speed and tactical prowess, getting south early to get around the south atlantic high, holding off the others in a drag race to the finish line in South Africa.

(Action shots, leg start shot with table mountain back drop)

Leg 3 - A monster, 6500 miles to Melbourne, a first experience of the southern ocean for many and the first double point scoring leg. The fleet took off south to find the big winds and big waves.

(AkzoNobel mast track damage footage)

More drama for team AkzoNobel……..(mast break shots)…..Whilst racing in 4th place serious damage to the mast track meant the team slowing to attempt a complicated fix at sea. A painful journey to the finish line would see them finish last.

(Shots of Mapfre and Dongfeng close and in big winds/waves, tracker, then arrival of Mapfre & podium)

A gybing battle between the two leading red boats of Mapfre and Dongfeng race team saw multiple lead changes as they pushed as far south as they could to the ice exclusion zone. Mapfre finally getting the better of the French/Chinese team leading the charge north to a Christmas eve finish in Melbourne.

(Shots of Melbourne, leg start. Tracker, then man overboard)

After a welcome festive rest period in the southern Australian city the fleet set out back north encountering another tricky crossing of the doldrums which saw Sun Hung Kai Scallywag roll the dice and opt to cut the corner heading East to lead the fleet towards their home coming in Hong Kong, though they didn’t have it all their own way (shots & quote of man overboard).

(HK finish & podium)

They held out for a fantastic first win in front of their home crowd in the heart of the city.

(Generic shots of Vestas sailing then boat getting put on the container ship)

Sadly approximately 30 miles from the finish Vestas 11th Hour Racing were involved in a collision with a non-racing vessel, which resulted in the fatality of a crew member from the other boat. Vestas 11th Hour Racing suffered serious hull damage meaning they would not be able to rejoin the race in time for Leg 6. The best option was to send the boat in a container ship to Auckland for the necessary repairs.

(Guangzhou race village, Dongfeng stuck on the mark, Mapfre win & podium)

A Volvo Ocean Race first was the In Port race held in Guangzhou. Thousands of Chinese fans came to see their local heroes onboard Dongfeng Race team but it wasn’t to be their day as they snagged a mark at the start of the race, leaving them in last place. Mapfre continued their winning ways in the in-port series as they mastered the currents of the Pearl river to take the win.

(Tracker, fleet heading out of Hong Kong, quotes saying they’re going the wrong way, Akzo shots, finish & podium with Scallywag)

Leg 6 was almost the reverse of Leg 4 as the teams chose their routes back south to Auckland. But for the first few days of the leg the fleet would sail in the opposite direction to where they needed to go to find the stronger breeze.  (shots saying Auckland is that way we’re going this way..) Finally the fleet turned south for an easier than usual Doldrums crossing.

team AkzoNobel were the first through the light winds and took a slim lead over Sung Hung Kai Scallywag that they managed to hold onto all the way to the finish in Auckland to become the 4th boat to win a leg in this edition of the race. David Witt’s Scallywags were hot on their heels finishing on the podium for a second consecutive leg.

Leg 7  - posed a significant challenge - 7600 miles through the fiercest ocean on the planet. The sailors knew that this leg would not be easy

(Quote by Charles Caudrelier, Dongfeng Race Team)

Within days the fleet were battling 40 knot winds, huge swells and freezing temperatures.

With the fleet constantly gybing along the southern ice limits within the furious 50’s Team Brunel squeezed into the lead. (Quote by Bouwe Bekking, Team Brunel)

(Images from Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and John Fisher)

On March 25th, everything changed for David Witt’s SHK Scallywag. At approximately 13:00 UTC race control in Alicante was informed of a serious situation. British sailor John Fisher had been swept overboard in 35 knots of winds and a difficult sea state. The team conducted an exhaustive search for several hours in extremely challenging conditions, but were unable to recover their teammate. With the weather forecast due to deteriorate further, they retired from racing to head for landfall in Chile.

The news sent shockwaves throughout the fleet…..

(Quotes from the other teams. Dee Cafferi, Xavi Fernández, Simeon Tienpont)

(Action shots, MAPFRE breaking sail)

As SHK Scallywag headed for Chile, the other 6 teams were racing through extreme weather conditions. Mapfre were suffering as they attempted to fix damage to their mast track from earlier in the leg….

… But then, as they approached Cape Horn, the Spanish team's mainsail split into two pieces.

 … This forced them to stop in the lee of Cape Horn, make repairs, and nurse their boat into Itajaí.

(Vestas sailing, mast broken and boat dismasted, team on shore working on the jury rig)

Vestas 11TH Hour Racing rounded Cape Horn in second, behind Team Brunel.

The next day disaster struck, as their mast came down in the lumpy seas of the South Atlantic

The team made their way to the Falkland Islands where they salvaged a jury rig which they would use in a race against time to make the start of the next leg in Brazil.

(Team Brunel winning the leg)

Team Brunel held fast with Dongfeng Race team snapping at their heels to claim their first victory after a disappointing first 6 legs of the race. Although victory was bitter sweet for skipper Bouwe Bekking.

(Quote at the finish line from Bouwe Bekking talking about John Fisher)

(Images of Itajaí)

As the rest of fleet were finishing the leg in Itajaí Sung Hung Kai/Scallywag had made the tough decision to keep participating in the race in John’s memory.

(Quote from David Witt at press conference.)

(Tracker and sailing shots)

Leg 8 a push back into the northern hemisphere, on paper a simple reach all the way to Newport, Rhode Island, but it would prove anything but.

For the first days, upwind conditions demanded strategic risk taking and it was Dee Caffari’s Turn the tide on plastic that made the best of it leading the fleet around the corner of Brazil, with another equator crossing on the horizon.

(Quote from Alberto Bolzan of Team Brunel)

(Fleet in the fog, end of leg, reactions from MAPFRE and Team Brunel)

As the breeze shut down off the coast of Newport and with thick fog engulfing the boats, Mapfre crept past Team Brunel just metres from the line…..delight for Xavi Fernandez’s team, disappointment and frustration for Bouwe Bekking.

(Newport race village and leg start heli, tracker, fast sailing)

With the scores at the top of the leaderboard tightening up the leg 9 Trans-Atlantic crossing worth double points would be key to winning the overall title.

The teams flew out of Newport and were quickly into the big winds of the north Atlantic.  Difference of opinion of how to find they way around the low pressure saw a big split in the fleet however when the 7 boats converged they found themselves reaching along in record breaking conditions.

(Team AkzoNobel in fast sailing)

Five of the teams broke the VO65 24hour distance record however it was team AkzoNobel who went one step further in setting a new outright Volvo Ocean Race record. 602.54 miles were covered by Simeon Tienpont and crew, an impressive feat in the one design class.

(Chris Nicholson quote on the record)

(Team Brunel)

While team AkzoNobel were writing themselves in the history books it was the other Dutch team that were victorious taking the maximum 14 points at the finish line in Cardiff. Bouwe Bekking and his team were on the charge towards the top of the leaderboard.

(Quote from Bekking on the new scenario)

(Fleet around the Fastnet Rock and sailing fast off Scotland)

After a light and fickle start to Leg 10 and with multiple lead changes the flat passed the top of Scotland and found themselves once more in tough conditions blasting across the North sea in 30 plus knots of breeze.

(Quote from Stacey Jackson on tough sailing)

(Team Brunel, win and podium)

Only a stellar performance from Team Brunel would see them with the chance of the overall win in the Hague and incredibly they cruised past first Dongfeng Race Team and then Mapfre, the once invincible reaching speeds of the Spanish boat had been overcome.

Finishing in the Swedish city of Gothenburg once more on the top step of the podium meant three teams were now tied at the top of the leaderboard on 65 points.

(All teams sailing, three top teams)

Over 44,000 of racing completed and it was to all come down to the last 900 mile sprint to the ultimate destination - The Hague. The order the top three would finish the leg would be the order they stand on the final podium.

(Aarhus fly-by)

The final leg was to include a rounding of a waypoint in the city of Arhus, Dongfeng Race Team were first round with Mapfre in hot pursuit, a special moment for Danish-flagged Vestas 11th Hour Racing rounding in third to the cheers of the home crowd.


The real challenge for the final leg would be the decision of which way through the traffic separation zones to take, either stay offshore playing the shifts, or hug the coast of the Netherlands in the hope of better breeze.

(Dongfeng Race Team)

Dongfeng Race Team were the first to lay their cards on the table bearing away and heading towards the coastal option. Team Brunel and then Mapfre opted to stay offshore.

(Three top boats sailing, The Hague Race village and public)

The Chinese boat knew that in the short term they would lose miles to their opponents whilst team Brunel and Mapfre were also concerned that Dongfeng Race Team would have the  favourable conditions in the final miles of the leg.

An agonising final night not just for the three teams but also their fans as over 9 months of racing would boil down the final nerve racking miles.

(Dongfeng Race Team win and podium)

Until just 6 miles out no-one knew who would prevail and emerge victorious. The final mark of the race saw Dongfeng Race Team pass first just 3 miles ahead of Mapfre and with a huge flotilla of boats surrounding them they crossed the final Inmarsat finish line with emotions running high.


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