Team Dongfeng are currently protecting a 106.3 nautical mile lead in the Volvo Ocean Race, sailing’s greatest round-the-world endurance event.
Wedged in between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the Malacca Straits combines the dual challenges of fickle winds and busy shipping lanes, meaning that all could change for the yachting teams battling towards Sanya across the South China Sea.
Dongfeng means “the eastern wind” and this ambitious team are looking to claim a double: become the first Chinese team in the race to win a stage – and do it by sailing into China first. Skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, team Dongfeng comprises a crew that is half Chinese, half international.
Skipper Charles Caudrelier commented on their chances:
“We are happy, of course, to have led for nearly 13 days, but we are also very tense. We dream – without thinking too much about it – of being first to arrive ‘home’ but these Straits really concern us.
“The race is, without doubt, going to be decided there.”
The fleet is forecast to arrive in Sanya, Hainan Island on the southern-most tip of China on January 27 or, less likely, January 28.