Photo Rick Tomlinson/Team SCA
The culmination of over two years of hard work came together today for Team SCA, as they crossed the finish line after 3 days 13 hours 11 minutes and 11 seconds to take their first leg win of the Volvo Ocean Race in Lorient.
It was an intense 647-mile leg with a bit of everything, from light winds at the start to the brutal upwind conditions in the Bay of Biscay. Conditions that saw several crew members hit hard with seasickness:
“Sea sickness has taken its prisoners onboard. Luckily we were prepared for the Bay of Biscay. It has been 24 hours of endless bouncing around upwind. For some onboard it has been 24 hours of hell, a repetitive cycle of drinking, trying to eat, being sick, and trying again [but] the fact that we’re winning makes it all the more bearable,” commented Annie Lush from on board late last night.
Team SCA led the fleet for more than half the leg and once in pole position, then dominated. A tactical decision to choose the more offshore course as they headed into the Bay of Biscay and forecasted 30 plus knot upwind conditions paid dividends. The fleet split with four boats taking the inshore route, hugging the coastline. For Team SCA it was a case of being the hunted rather than the hunter and holding their position over the others.
The team held their nerve throughout the final hours of Thursday morning to seal a comfortable victory over the fleet.
The performance of the team has been improving leg by leg, winning this leg silences some critics who have felt that all female team could not be competitive in this fleet.
“They were up there in performance with the guys but sometimes to do well, you need to sail well. They were just missing a few bits and pieces and on this leg they got it right, and when you get it right, you win,” commented Team SCA Coach, Joca Signorini.
“Thanks to everybody for all your support. It’s a reward for all the hard work we have done. It’s going to be huge for us. We’ve had a mountain to climb to get here.” Skipper Sam Davies said speaking dockside, “The conditions might have been man breaking but they were not women breaking. It feels great to have held that lead in the conditions we had. It was not easy in the Bay of Biscay. But I am proud of how we sailed. It was pretty violent onboard – we had a tough 36 hours across there. If I chose one leg to win it would be this one coming into Lorient, so I am doubly happy.”
Volvo Ocean Race Overall Standings:
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 19 pts
Team Brunel – 27 pts
Dongfeng Race Team – 29 pts
MAPFRE – 31 pts
Team Alvimedica – 33 pts
Team SCA – 44 pts
Team Vestas Wind – 54 pts