Volvo Ocean Race: "MAPFRE" leaves China and heads towards Auckland - Departure ceremony for the start of Leg 4 in Sanya
Leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race has begun. The Spanish team, with Xabi Fernández as skipper, is already sailing the early stages of a leg of almost 10,000 km. In the immediate future, they have four tough days upwind until North of the Philippines.
The Spanish crew of "MAPFRE" was back in the saddle on Sunday with the start of Leg 4 of the round the world race. The farewell in Sanya (China) saw winds above 10 knots and clear skies, conditions that will change to stronger winds and on the nose. The Spaniards will fight strongly to keep improving and something more: "Each leg we are doing better, but I hope this time we will make it to the podium, which is what we are chasing for. We will do everything we can," said the skipper Xabi Fernández.
"The first three or four days will be hard upwind until north of the Philippines, with winds between 20 and 30 knots, not much, but tough, and with a bit of waves. It will also be the first time that we will put the boat to the test and I hope everything goes well," added the Basque, who again leads the crew instead of Iker Martínez, currently competing in Florida because of his commitments to the Olympic campaign in Nacra 17.
Race course between buoys before heading to the open sea
Leg four started at 14h00 in China and a good start from "MAPFRE" which started at the front of the fleet. Before starting sailing on a free course, and as is usual in every start of the Volvo Ocean Race, the fleet completed a two-lap race course.
Then, the fleet had to complete approximately 14 nm until they reached the mark next to the big Buddha statue called Guan Yin, one of the highest in the world with a height of 108 meters. It was important there to avoid the Buddha’s wind shadow, where in the last edition "Puma" got stuck.
At night they probably started the watch systems on board.
Exclusion Zones and waypoints
On the way to Auckland, the route of the leg included an exclusion zone in Sanya, to avoid contact with a Chinese army zone. Then "MAPFRE" and its rivals have a mandatory waypoint in the Philippines, which they have to leave to starboard.
In the Solomon Islands they will find two more waypoints which they must also leave to starboard, one on Dai island and another one in Santa Ana Island. Both are to prevent the fleet from navigating between them. And finally the final approach to Auckland and the finish line.
For the Spaniard Rafa Trujillo, who resides in the City of Sails, it will be a finish with reward: "In my case I will be one of the privileged who has just finished a leg and can take a shower in the shower of his home and sleep in his bed. That will be a good motivation for me. Every mile we do is a mile closer to my second-house," he said.
CREW LIST FOR LEG 4
Xabi Fernández (ESP), skipper
Jean Luc Nélias (FRA), navigator
Rob Greenhalgh (GBR), watch captain
André Fonseca “Bochecha” (BRA), watch captain
Rafa Trujillo (ESP), trimmer/helmsman
Willy Altadill (ESP), trimmer
Carlos Hernández (ESP), trimmer/bowman
Antonio “Ñeti” Cuervas-Mons (ESP), bowman
Francisco Vignale (ARG), onboard reporter
Photo : © María Muiña/MAPFRE