BREAKING NEWS: After nine months of racing, the Volvo Ocean Race was undecided until the final cross this afternoon.
The short last leg to The Hague was littered with traffic separation zones one the final few hundred miles. Dongfeng made an audacious tactical call to split from their equal rivals Mapfre and Team Brunel, heading east and inshore, with no-go TSS zones dividing the waters between them and the main pack.
As Dongfeng reached into the final mark with three headsails flying, Brunel and Mapfre were gybing in on a lower course. It wasn’t until the final hour of the race that the verdict came in: Dongfeng crossed in front, the Volvo Ocean Race was won.
The fleet had set out on Thursday 21st June with an unprecedented points tie – a three-way tie in a dead heat on the overall leaderboard. The finishing order between MAPFRE, Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team at The Hague would determine their place on the overall race podium.
Each of those three teams led at various points on the leg and had their opportunities to grab the prize.
But Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier and his team made a bold call on Saturday evening to take a coastal route to the finish, pinned against the shoreline by a series of Exclusion Zones. It hurt them in the short term as they tumbled down the leaderboard.
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