39 days ago, they were in the middle of the Southern Ocean, their mast broken.

And today, May 7 at 02:03:00 UTC, Dongfeng Race Team triumphed in Leg 6 from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island, USA.

“I’d like to give our shore crew this victory.”

Charles Caudrelier’s voice shakes a bit. Maybe it’s the exhaustion – or the emotion.

“The goal for this leg was to be ready in Itajaí, and the shore crew did a fantastic job. They worked very hard to get this boat ready. I’m very proud of them and very happy to take this first place.

“I’m really, really happy. I’m very proud of my team.”

It’s been a weary, 5,010+nm long leg. A leg “with a tactical decision to make every day,” says Charles. A leg they started by breaking their water maker to finally take the lead on May 2 and never let it go.

“10 times we gained slowly, and every time the guys came back in a cloud or something like that. We weren’t very lucky. Every time we managed to have a small advance, we lost it!”

And the Frenchman, skipper of a mixed crew including four of his countrymen, two Chinese, a Swede and an American Onboard Reporter – Sam Greenfield, a local, turns to their direct competitor.

They took second, three minutes behind them. With this result and after winning Leg 3 in China, Dongfeng (17) closes to within six points of the Emiratis who are overall leaders (11).

“They had a fantastic comeback. They just kept coming back… they passed us a few hours ago but we managed to re-pass them. It was terrible.”
He smiles.

“But nice try from them!”

And his fellow skipper Ian Walker smiles back. After winning Leg 5 in Brazil, he’s a bit disappointed. And extremely tired.

But overall, he’s satisfied with a well-earned second place.

“Félicitations to the Français over there.”

“We’re alright. It was a very tight finish.

“You feel the pressure, you take the rough with the smooth. And I’m delighted to be in Newport – thanks everybody for showing up!”

Fuente: VOR