British virtual skipper Sideshow has claimed the top spot in Leg 6, becoming the first player to win two legs of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race game. Sideshow – aka Mark Campbell-James – took the top spot in the 6,100-mile leg from Hong Kong to Auckland, adding to his victory in the opening stage from Alicante to Lisbon.
Campbell-James, the brother of America’s Cup sailor Paul, is no stranger to success in the Volvo Ocean Race game – in the 2011-12 edition he won overall, bagging a brand new Volvo XC60 in the process. The 37-year-old from Guildford, Surrey, a talented sailor with numerous high-level wins in match racing, finished the leg at 22:36 UTC, completing it in 19 days, 16 hours and 35 minutes.
He beat second-placed DRICA from Germany by less than a mile. “It’s great to get a second leg win under my belt,” Campbell-James said. “I won the Volvo Ocean Race game back in 2012, which was amazing, and I did enter the 2014-15 game but I didn’t try very hard. “When I started the first leg of this edition I didn’t have massive expectations but I managed to win it, which was a bit of a surprise. “The level of competition this time round has been incredible – it’s so close at the top.”
Campbell-James’s chosen route saw him plug north east for several days to skirt round a high pressure ridge before diving south to catch the rest of the fleet. The deviation put him so far behind the leading players in the early stage of the leg that he considered withdrawing – but after making it into the front group at the Equator he changed his mind.
“I was on the verge of giving up because I was a long way behind the leaders but decided to keep going when I managed to catch up with the leg leaders at the Equator,” Campbell-James added. “I’m glad I did – it all worked out in the end.”
Campbell-James is hoping to be in the top five overall going into Leg 7 from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil, beginning on March 18.