Team AkzoNobel finishes fifth in penultimate Volvo Ocean Race qualifier in France

Close racing in light winds mean no sleep for already exhausted crew

Team AkzoNobel has finished the third stage of the race’s four-part Leg Zero qualification series from Plymouth, England to St. Malo, France in fifth place.

The team crossed the finish line of the 225-nautical mile (417-kilometer) race through the English Channel shortly after 07.30 UTC (09.30 CEST) today. 

The third Leg Zero heat started within a day of the crew finishing the Rolex Fastnet Race, giving them little time to catch up on lost sleep before setting off. Nor did the nine sailors – seven men and two women – get much chance to sleep on the short race to St. Malo via a turn at the Needles lighthouse off the western end of the Isle of Wight. 

“It was really tricky with the influence of the land, the tides, the coast and the shipping,” Tienpont said. “It’s such a tactical game. Every 15 minutes something happens: a sail change or a change of course and we are continually moving sails around because the wind gets a bit lighter or a bit stronger. So, basically there’s no sleep.”  

Despite not being among the frontrunners in the later stages of the cross-Channel sprint, Tienpont was upbeat about the way his new crew was working together as a team. 

“Even if the result didn’t show it, we had a nice solid race,” he said. “We stuck to the plan even though we had a few bad luck moments. We caught some stuff on the keel and on the rudders and so we had to stop and back up – but that’s all part of it and all good practice because it happens the same in the real race.” 

Team AkzoNobel will take part in two days of exhibition style ProAm racing in St. Malo before setting off on Sunday to Lisbon, Portugal on the final stage of Leg Zero.

Team AkzoNobel Crew List for stage 3 of Leg Zero:  

Skipper: Simeon Tienpont (NED)
Roberto Bermúdez de Castro (ESP)
Annemieke Bes (NED)
Brad Jackson (NZL)
Luke Molloy (AUS)
Emily Nagel (BER)
Jules Salter (GBR)
Nicolai Sehested (DEN)
Joca Signorini (BRA)


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