A Grand Comeback of Shanghai Cup, Denmark leading on the first day

Sunday, 29 October 2017


Great sailing from the Spanish team, skippered by Basque sailor Xabi Fernández, who crossed the finish line in second place, 2 hours and 33 minutes behind the winners, after 6 days 4 hours 42 mins and 30 seconds of sailing from Alicante to Lisbon

Lisbon (Portugal), 28th October 2017

At 18:42h today, the Spanish team competing in the round-the-world race, the VO65 MAPFRE, finished Leg One of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-2018. Skippered by Olympic champion Xabi Fernández, from the Basque country, and with Catalan navigator Joan Vila, considered one of the best navigators in the world, the crew of MAPFRE claimed second place in a hard-fought first leg. The team battled hard, and with the necessary consistency, to come back and above all, not let go of their second place.

Neck-and-neck first leg
As predicted, and similar to the last two editions of the race with arrivals in Lisbon (2011-12 y 2014-15), the last few miles of the course were painfully slow due to a drastic drop in wind conditions. As such, on reaching the Portuguese coast the leaders of the pack, were forced to watch how distances ahead of MAPFRE and the rest of the fleet dropped as they approached the finish line. However, the team had clocked up a decent few miles advantage in their favour, and nerves on board remained calm.

It was likewise a neck-and-neck arrival for MAPFRE in second place and Dongfeng in third. At just over half a mile to the finish line, and with a speed of four knots (7.3 km/h), the team were made to grit their teeth, whilst Charles Caudrelier’s crew advanced at double the speed. The two teams soon had their bowmen at the top of the mast searching for a sight of the slightest breeze.

MAPFRE remained calm, and with a sound Pablo Arrarte at the helm. After a frustratingly scarce three knots of wind speed, conditions finally picked up to five knots, and the team were able to cross the finish line at 18:42h Spanish time.

Full podium
Vestas 11th Hour Racing, the American team skippered by Charlie Enright, claimed victory of the first leg, arriving at 16:08h Spanish time, (an hour less in Lisbon). The Chinese team, in third place, completed the podium, crossing the finish line 15 minutes after MAPFRE.


Xabi Fernández (ESP), Skipper
It was a complicated leg, as we were expecting. The Mediterranean was particularly tricky, and we then had several situations where we were forced to take a few risks. The result has been excellent for us, and satisfied our objective to finish up front.

We always say that the shortest legs are harder than the longer ones. This was a sprint lasting nearly seven days, where we saw a little bit of everything: light winds, heavy winds, manoeuvres.

There are very good sailors on all the boats, and with a lot of experience. We are all going to have good and bad legs, so it is important to make very few mistakes and to take it step by step. Vestas had a great leg; in Cabo de Gata they made the right decision, and we didn't see them again. Congratulations to the winners! We are now ready to go for the next one.

Támara Echegoyen (ESP), trimmer
It was tougher than I expected because even though I knew it wasn't going to be as long as the second leg, there were the Straits to contend with, and a lot of manoeuvres, so we hardly got any rest.

It has been a great experience, especially to know that I will be ready for everything that lies ahead. Now it’s time to enjoy our second place, which is a really good result for the team. We have been talking about being regular in our results, so this is good for us. I am now going to enjoy a bed, a shower, and the few day’s rest we have in Lisbon.

Pablo Arrarte (ESP), Watch captain
Leaving the Mediterranean was quite complicated. There were a few pretty tough moments, because there were areas of calm, and the prediction didn’t show that, but finally we managed to leave in third place, quite close to AkzoNobel.

We kept fighting mile by mile, our first goal was to catch AkzoNobel and for Dongfeng to be a little behind us, and we finally managed it. It was a tough leg, but we are very happy.

We still have the same spirit that we left Alicante with, and hope to keep it up.

Joan Vila (ESP), navigator
It was a short but intense leg. We were looking for the right options to get ahead, but also keeping an eye on those behind us. There were lots of areas without wind, and a few tough days, but finally it all worked out.

Conditions at the end were really light, and we knew that the chasing boats could be on top of us at any moment, but we had the advantage that with the narrowness of the river there wasn't a lot of margin. It is a shame that we arrived in such light wind, but that is racing; it isn't over until its over, as they say.

The team make everything really easy for me, and it is one of the great advantages of sailing with MAPFRE. I felt really good, and remembered how this was, so I’m now looking forward to a longer leg. It was a good apéritif and training opportunity for the next few longer legs.

Day 7 – 20:10h Spanish time– 28th October 2017

1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA, Charlie Enright).FINISHED. 6d 2h 8min 45s
2. MAPFRE (ESP, Xabi Fernández). FINISHED. 6d 4h 42min y 30s
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN, Charles Caudrelier). FINISHED. 6d 4h 57m 48s
4. team AkzoNobel (NED, Simeon Tienpont) 1.5 miles from finish
5. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG, David Witt) 7.7 miles
6. Team Brunel (NED, Bouwe Bekking) 32.3 miles
7. Turn The Tide on Plastic (United Nations, Dee Caffari) 33.1 miles

2017 SYC Shanghai Cup and Nacra 17 Asian Championship has officially started on Huangpu River, Shanghai on 28th October. An intense competition among 12 teams with 24 world-class sailors from 10 countries and regions was launched on the racing area  from Gongping Road Ferry Pier to Yangtze River Pier on Huangpu River, with about 1.5 km length.

The event started with a prestigious opening ceremony held on the main stage of the public area at the Bund. Mr. Wu Xielin, deputy secretary-general of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government announced the opening of the event. Mr. Xu Bin, director-general of the Shanghai Administration delivered a speech too.  Ms. Zhang Xiaodong, president of Chinese Yachting Association, Mr. Marcus Spillane, president of World Sailing International Nacra 17 Class Association and many other distinguished guests attended the ceremony which was hosted by Mr. Zhang Lei, vice district mayor of Hongkou District.

Today, the wind speed was about 12 knots on average, and the highest temperature reached 22
, which was rather ideal for the race.  With a sound signal at around two o’clock in the afternoon, an intense competition for the championship among the 12 teams was on!   After 3 races, the Danish team of Anette Viborg and Mathias Borreskov stood out from their competitors and are currently leading the ranking.  Besides other globally famous sailors in this year’s event, SYCR Nacra17 sailing team, China’s first professional sailing team cultivated by private company, is representing China for the first time to participate in such a world-class race on Huangpu River. Their performance today was also great. With a slow start in the first 2 races, they fought their way back to reach 4th place in the 3rd race. “Shanghai Cup” is wonderfully combining both sports and arts.  The 24 sailors with their 12 colourful boats delivered a spectacular visual feast to the audience from all over the world.

Sailing, as one of the three elements applied in the design of Shanghai’s emblem, for all times, symbolizes the city’s vigor and vitality.  Huangpu River has witnessed every change that has taken place in this city, and to launch the time-honored event on it in such a brand-new phase of our country’s development, also showcases the great progresses Shanghai has made in the past century. “Shanghai Cup” has made its historic comeback since 1873, in which year Shanghai Yacht Club (SYC) held the first international sailing regatta in Chinese modern history.  In addition to recreating the unprecedented scene of the race a century ago, the committee also paid huge attention to the choice of racing boat.  The Nacra 17 boat used in the race adopts high-end hydrofoil technology, which enables the boat to be “flying” above the surface of water.  And this has drawn the attention of the audience and the spotlight of domestic and international media.

The first racing day came to an end as the last team came back to the pier.  In tomorrow’s (29th October) races, the 12 teams will gather again and sail on Huangpu River to compete for the trophy of 2017 SYC Shanghai Cup and Nacra 17 Asian Championship. 

2017 SYC Shanghai Cup and Nacra 17 Asian Championship is hosted by World Sailing International Nacra 17 Class Association, Chinese Yachting Association and Shanghai Sports Federation; organized by Hongkou District Sports Federation of Shanghai, Shanghai Yacht Club and Resort Co., Ltd.; co-organized by Qingpu District Sports Federation of Shanghai and Shanghai SYC Sports Management Co., Ltd. The event is initiated by the government and organized by both public and private sectors of the society and receives generous support from many renowned brands: LAOMIAO Jewelry Group, Bright Dairy, BesTV, YMCI, Guanghua Education Group, Tencent News, etc.



Video: 2017 SHANGHAI CUP - DAY 1





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Last Updated ( Monday, 30 October 2017 )