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Change of plan for Dongfeng



Charles Caudrelier and his crew on board the Volvo Ocean 65 Dongfeng are now heading for Hong Kong as forecasted weather scuppers their plan to complete the training leg to Auckland, New Zealand.


Caudrelier and his crew left Sanya on 22 March with an estimated arrival date of 8– 10 April in Auckland. Donfgeng faced strong upwind conditions of around 20-25 knots which have eased in the last few days as Dongfeng gained more miles to the east but, unfortunately, the latest weather information reveals more upwind in lighter airs delaying the estimated time of arrival to Auckland by another 10-12 days. There is now a risk Dongfeng could miss her shipping date from Auckland to take her to the States.


The decision has been taken instead to sail to Hong Kong to take advantage of the good downwind weather conditions and training optimisation for the Chinese crew on board.


The team are disappointed not to pit stop in Auckland this time and thank the Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for their support and help in planning for the team’s arrival.


“It was a tough decision to make knowing the team had so much to look forward to in Auckland,” said Team Principal Bruno Dubois. “We were excited about all the media and public interest surrounding the team and I know Charles and the guys were looking forward to the warm Kiwi reception upon arrival. Unfortunately it hasn’t been possible this time but we are now looking forward to the race Stopover and Auckland’s legendary welcome!


“We are in a training session and not in delivery mode from point A to B, We managed to accumulate a lot of upwind data so far in order to optimise our sail cross over, but for the last two days we have been sailing on port tack in 10 knots of breeze with little to do - this is not the Volvo Ocean Race nor the best way to train our Chinese crew.


“We have been looking at the routing to reach New Zealand and the weather is simply not looking good enough to justify spending another 20 days in that direction and risk the chance of missing our shipping date. Our plan is now to stay in the good breeze we have in this part of the ocean to achieve good downwind tests and push our crew more.”