SANYA, China (Reuters) - Dongfeng Race Team became the first team from China to win a leg in offshore sailing’s Volvo Ocean Race early on Tuesday.
The victory in the third stage from Abu Dhabi to their home port of Sanya on Hainan Island also puts Dongfeng top of the overall standings with six legs still to go.
Dongfeng have proved themselves serious challengers from the outset of the 2014-15 race and had already finished narrow runners-up in the first two legs following the race start on Oct. 4.
The crew, skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, crossed the Sanya finish line after nearly 24 days at sea on the 4,670-nautical mile (nm) voyage from Abu Dhabi to Sanya with an advantage of just over 45nm from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
“It’s the most stressful leg I’ve ever done in my life,” a relieved Caudrelier told reporters, minutes after crossing the line. “But the result is fantastic!”
The route took the fleet through the Gulf, the Bay of Bengal, the Malacca Strait and finally, the South China Sea, negotiating some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world along the way.
The event, which is held every three years and visits 11 ports in all and every continent, concludes in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27 and will have covered 38,739nm.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)