British sailing hero Dee Caffari (MBE), the skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic, led her team to a sixth place finish in Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Tuesday morning.
The team received a heroes’ welcome, despite a disappointing sixth place finish in the transatlantic race, and skipper Caffari found some bright spots to celebrate once the team was dockside.
“We had some of the best sailing the guys have done the entire race so they were buzzing,” Caffari said, referencing the record-breaking conditions mid-leg that saw some of the highest 24-hour runs in the history of the race.
“They have all now circumnavigated the globe and none of them had done that when we left. We have crossed our track from Leg 0, they’ve all gone round the world and I’m really proud of them.”
For Caffari, this race marks her fifth time around the world, including three non-stop circumnavigations.
For one of her crew, Bleddyn Mon, the finish line in Wales represented a homecoming of sorts, as he grew up sailing in Anglesey.
“This is a day I’ve looked forward to from the beginning of the project,” he said dockside just after finishing. “For me, offshore sailing is quite new and I was in at the deep end with the Volvo Ocean Race… But I’ve learned so much about how to manage myself offshore.”
In addition to Caffari, the rookies on board Turn the Tide on Plastic can profit from the experience of another one of Britain’s most accomplished offshore sailors.
Navigator Brian Thompson became the first Briton to set the Round the World record twice and to sail non-stop around the world four times. He says he thinks the team has the ability and drive to earn a podium position on one of the remaining two legs.
“We’ve been so close on several occasions, Thompson said. “If you had taken the halfway point on some of the legs we’d have been on the podium or in the lead,” he noted.
“But I think we need a little bit of good fortune. We’re all getting better every leg… we’ve really learned how to sail the boat and we’re all getting more experience. So I think in the nice tactical close racing we can hold our own with everyone, so we’re looking forward to the last couple of legs.”
Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race was won by Team Brunel, who is making a late charge for the top of the leaderboard. But Dongfeng Race Team is the new overall race leader, just one point clear of MAPFRE and three points ahead of Brunel.
One boat remains racing at sea, SHK/Scallywag is expected to finish overnight Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.
Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 9 – Results / Leaderboard (10:00 UTC)
1. Team Brunel – Winner Leg 9
2. team AkzoNobel – Second place Leg 9
3. Dongfeng Race Team – Third place Leg 9
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – Fourth place Leg 9
5. MAPFRE – Fifth place Leg 9
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic – Fifth place Leg 9
7. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag – 116.0 nautical miles distance to finish
Volvo Ocean Race Projected Leaderboard after Leg 9
1. Dongfeng Race Team – 60 points (finished)
2. MAPFRE – 59 points (finished)
3. Team Brunel – 57 points (finished)
4. team AkzoNobel – 48 points (finished)
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 36 points (finished)
6. SHK / Scallywag – 29 points (finished)
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 26 points (projected)