All seven boats in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet have now finished in Melbourne, with team AkzoNobel ghosting through Port Phillip Bay in near calm conditions to cross the line just before 10:30am on Thursday morning (local time).
It was a frustrating end to a difficult leg that saw the team fall behind the rest of the fleet after damaging their mast track during a gybe in heavy weather Southern Ocean conditions.
In the time it took to jury-rig a repair, the team fell several hundred miles behind the leaders and into a less favourable weather pattern for the rest of the leg, resulting in the late finish.
“It was character-building,” said watch captain Chris Nicolson. “It teaches you that the smallest mistake can snowball and become a big, leg-defining, moment. You have to try your best and see how it rolls.
“It was good to see no one get bent out of shape or take it out on each other. We had a good mixture of comedy and jokes and seriousness right through to the finish today. I think it looks good for the future. But we can not do this again.”
Now the team needs to get the mast lifted out for a more permanent repair in the abbreviated Melbourne stopover. Leg 4 starts on Tuesday January 2. Getting rest for the crew is also a priority.
“Happily the rest of the boat is in good shape,” said skipper Simeon Tienpont. “The rig is out of our hands, that will be up to the guys at the Boatyard and Southern Spars. We have a few small jobs on the boat and we’ll take a good rest.
“At one point a few days ago we realised we weren’t going to catch up so we put in a good watch system and made sure everyone got their rest and finished some other jobs on board. Everyone is healthy and rested. We’ll be fine.”
Leg 3 was a 6,500 nautical mile race through the daunting Southern Ocean from Cape Town to Melbourne and was won by overall race leaders MAPFRE, with Dongfeng Race Team in second place and Vestas 11th Hour Racing completing the podium.
Team Brunel, who finished in fourth place, set the Omega 24-hour speed record on Leg 3, notching up 538.1 nautical miles, for an average speed of 22.4 knots, in favourable conditions on the day before they finished.
Leg 3 – Results at Wednesday 27 December (Leg 3, Day 18) at 23:30 UTC
1. MAPFRE — FINISHED — 16:07.21 UTC, December 24 – 14 days, 04h:07m:21s
2. Dongfeng Race Team — FINISHED – 20:10:16 UTC, December 24 – 14 days, 08h:10m:16s
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — FINISHED – 21:52:11 UTC, December 24 – 14 days, 09h:52m:11s
4. Team Brunel — FINISHED – 23:36:27 UTC, December 24 – 14 days, 11h:36m:27s
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag — FINISHED – 01:06:31 UTC, December 26 – 15 days, 13h:06m:31s
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic — FINISHED – 03:52:50 UTC, December 26 – 15 days, 15h:52m:50s
7. team AkzoNobel — FINISHED – 23:24:45 UTC, December 27 – 17 days, 11h:24m:45s
Volvo Ocean Race – Current Leaderboard
1. MAPFRE — FINISHED — 29 points (after Leg 3)
2. Dongfeng Race Team — FINISHED — 23 points (after Leg 3)
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — FINISHED — 23 points (after Leg 3)
4. Team Brunel — FINISHED — 14 points (after Leg 3)
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag — FINISHED — 11 points (after Leg 3)
6. team AkzoNobel — FINISHED — 9 points (after Leg 3)
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic — FINISHED — 6 points (after Leg 3)