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Dongfeng Race Team: Cloudbuster -Volvo Ocean Race - One less thing to worry about for Dongfeng as the water-maker repair holds for now and the team focus on the race ahead
Leg 6: Brazil to Newport (5,000nm)
Days at sea: 4
Boat speed: 10.4 knots
Distance to finish: 4,257nm
Position in fleet: 5th, 8.6nm behind leader Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

As the broken water maker threatened Dongfeng’s race, Kevin Escoffier & co were desperately implementing a repair they hoped would hold and avoid a dreaded 12-hour pit stop that would, without doubt, have scuppered this leg. In the meantime, the comms team came across the ‘Cloudbuster’ – a device designed by Austrian Wilhelm Reich that could produce rain by manipulating what he called ‘orgone energy’… It was the inspiration for Kate Bush’s 1985 song Cloudbusting; we realised pretty quickly it was a load of hot air but we were desperate. Then we had the news we’d been waiting, Mr Fixit had worked his magic – the water maker was working again. Then a few hours later it turned out to be a cloud itself that busted up the party on board…

Charles Caudrelier: “The good news and the bad news. We’ve got drinking water! That’s the very good news, for now our repair is working… So this day began well, after 72 hours of hard work, we had managed to move quietly in front of our competitors and the water problem was solved. But right at the moment we began to celebrate, an enormous storm cloud appeared to windward of us. Our competitors Abu Dhabi accelerated up to 21 knots – but we never managed more than 15 knots! We never got any benefit from this cloud. In one hour Abu Dhabi gained 5 miles, Mapfre too. The wind is not with us. We did a good job and lost everything in one hour because of a cloud. It’s the third time that’s happened since the start of this leg. Not encouraging! But lets be patient, the wheel is turning, and we have water!”

Read onboard reporter Sam Greenfield’s (alternative) take on the fixed water maker here – ‘Five reasons I wish Kevin hadn’t fixed the water maker’

It is a ridge of clouds stretching a few hundred miles across that will dominate the race for a while, and Dongfeng is not particularly fond of big, black clouds – remember leg 4?

The indomitable Dongfeng team spirit and humour remain as Black joked on the phone: “Yes, the water maker is fixed, thank god. You know, we are tired after been on watch, then when we are off we had to keep working to pump water. No one had a dispensation, everyone had to pump water. But just so you know, Charles and Pascal pumped less water than the others…!”

Straight line racing a few miles apart for now, but as the wind keeps tracking right the fleet will be contemplating a tack in the not too distant future. Straight line racing doesn’t equal easy: “The next 48 hours will be tricky and e are waiting for an opportunity to come back, but at least we can see all the other boats.” Eric Peron

Early days and Dongfeng’s focus and energy is now 100% back in the race.

Photo : © Sam Greenfield / Dongfeng Race Team / Volvo Ocean Race
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