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MAPFRE wins Leg 2 into Cape Town becoming the new Volvo Ocean Race leader

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Leg 2. Arrivals from Lisbon to Cape Town
Leg 2. Arrivals from Lisbon to Cape Town

MAPFRE wins Leg 2 into Cape Town becoming the new Volvo Ocean Race leader


A grand victory for the Spanish team, skippered by Basque sailor Xabi Fernández, after 7000 miles from Lisbon to Cape Town, finishing in 19 days, 1 hour, 10 minutes and 33 seconds. The win in South Africa places MAPFRE at the top of the overall scoreboard in the round-the-world race.

Cape Town (South Africa), 24th November 2017

A thrilling and hard-fought victory for MAPFRE in the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. On Friday 24th November at 16:10h Spanish time, the boat, skippered by two-time Olympic champion and offshore sailor Xabi Fernández, crossed the finish line in Cape Town (South Africa) in first place, after 19 intense and uninterrupted days of sailing. The Spanish team's victory, along with their second place in the first leg, places MAPFRE at the top of the general scoreboard for the round-the-world race par excellence.

“It's a fantastic result and we are really happy. We have arrived in one piece, without breaking anything, and ahead of the others, so we really couldn't ask for anything more!” exclaimed the delighted Basque skipper, on crossing the finish line.

“It has been a very close leg, and is an example of what we are going to see throughout this round-the-world race. All the teams have really good speed, and even the smallest mistakes are incredibly costly. We were lucky this time as we made very few mistakes, and it’s the reason we have won.”

Since MAPFRE left Lisbon on 5th November, they were clearly going to fight to stay amongst the leading bunch throughout the leg. After Xabi Fernández’s crew moved into the lead, Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team and Charlie Enright’s Vestas 11th Hour Racing, were the two teams to put the most pressure on the Spanish boat. With still over 2000 miles to the finish, a right choice of strategy in tackling the Santa Helena high, enabled MAPFRE to move ahead of the pack, snatching the lead from the Chinese team, and beginning their fast and furious ride through the South Atlantic, and onto triumph in Cape Town.

“It was at the Santa Helena high where we decided to head further south, and were able to gybe before Dongfeng. It was at that moment when we began to gain a little advantage, and I think that was key,” explained the Basque skipper on arrival at the dock.

It hasn’t been an easy leg, but MAPFRE has clearly been able to get the absolute most out of the boat, make the least number of mistakes, and as such cross the finish line with the leg victory; an advantage of 40 miles over the Chinese team.

As Xabi expressed,

“We are really proud of the whole team. It has been a long road, and this is the fifth Volvo Ocean Race that we are competing in as a team. I hope that this time we can do things better, but we are well aware that this is a very long, and a very tough race.”

As well as winning the leg, the victory in South Africa places MAPFRE as new leaders of the Volvo Ocean Race scoreboard (along with the points from their second place in Leg One into Lisbon).

At the time of this press release, Dongfeng Race Team was just two miles from the finish line in Cape Town, with Vestas 11th Hour Racing 20 miles behind them in third place.


Joan Vila, navigator
The key was in the day-to-day functioning and striving of the team. At times we were behind, and everyone did their absolute all to push the boat hard, because with an extra tenth of boat speed, you can gain advantage, and that helped us a lot to gain victory. That is what was key.

Ñeti Cuervas-Mons, bowman and Boat Captain
It is the result of the work that was done during the winter, both onshore, on the boat’s performance, the crew, and the sponsors etc. The important thing now is to keep working, because winning this leg doesn’t mean we are going to win the whole race, far from it. We have to keep a calm head, and avoid getting stuck, so we can keep improving all the way through the round-the-world race.

There were several opportunities for us to overtake each other. I think that Vila got it spot on with the strategy around the Santa Helena anticyclone, so we were well-placed for the low-pressure systems, and that was what was key in the leg.

The team sailed really well, and got the very best out of the boat, on every watch. It was truly a ten out of ten performance.

Támara Echegoyen, trimmer
I am really happy to have finished one of the longest legs of the Volvo Ocean Race. It was the very first time that I have been able to sail such a long time with the team, and we are thrilled to have finished in first place. As you have seen, it was a really hard-fought leg, and all the teams were really close. We are arriving with barely a couple of hours of difference between us.

We are really happy, and the team is doing a fantastic job. It’s time for us to rest now, and get ready for the next one.


Maximum distance in 24h: 527.68 miles. Average speed 21.7 knots
Arrival time: 16:10:33 h Spanish time (15:10:33 UTC)
Time sailed: 19d 1h 10m 33s

Day 20 – 18:45 h Spanish time – 24th November 2017

1. MAPFRE (ESP, Xabi Fernández), FINISHED 19d 1h 10m 33s
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN, Charles Caudrelier), 2 miles from the finish
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA/DEN, Charlie Enright), +18.2 miles
4. Team Brunel (NED, Bouwe Bekking), +90.1 miles
5. Team AkzoNobel (NED, Simeon Tienpont), +410.7 miles
6. Turn The Tide on Plastic (Naciones Unidas, Dee Caffari), +412.5 miles
7. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG, David Witt), +414.7 miles


1. MAPFRE (ESP, Xabi Fernández), 14 points
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA/DEN, Charlie Enright), 8 points*
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN, Charles Caudrelier), 5 points*
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED, Simeon Tienpont), 4 point*
5. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG, David Witt), 3 points*
6. Team Brunel (NED, Bouwe Bekking), 2 points*
7. Turn The Tide on Plastic (United Nations, Dee Caffari), 1 point*
* Pending on scores from Leg 2

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