For the past six weeks, the team has been based in Lisbon, training hard both on the water and in the gym, whilst also making sure that Dongfeng, its newly re-fitted Volvo Ocean 65, is race-ready.
“I am happy about the work we have done here as we have achieved all the goals on our list. During the last campaign we spent almost four months just learning to work together and getting to know our Chinese sailors. Today we are 100% focused on performance and working well together.”
With nine sailors on board, plus an On-Board Reporter who is being assessed for the role, Caudrelier will be making his final crew evaluations as Dongfeng sails north up the Iberian coast and then across the Bay of Biscay.
The delivery trip will also serve as a useful opportunity to continue looking at new sails. “We have been testing the new set, especially the J0 which one we didn’t have last time. The shapes of the sails are different so it’s been good to test them properly - having a new sail is like having a new boat - it totally changes the boat’s performance,” explained the French skipper.
“This is the first long offshore we have done together and the weather looks quite fresh - it will be a good test. The race itself is going to be completely different to the last edition as we will be sailing more in the Southern Ocean. So we need to sail more in strong winds for sure because the Southern Ocean legs will be very important with double points.
“Our time in Lisbon has been a good starting point. The team is back together and things have been going well.” said skipper, Charles Caudrelier.
“With summer coming soon, this delivery will be dominated by one of the last big low pressure systems of the winter and the weather is still cold - so it’s a good opportunity for more training, including testing the watch systems,” Caudrelier added.
Alongside the rest of his crew, Caudrelier is looking forward to continuing with on-the-water training in Lorient and building on the progress they have made so far.
“We are going to be based in Lorient until the compulsory assembly date in Cowes for the Fastnet Race in August. This is fantastic for us as we have the base of the Groupama sailing team to work from, which is one of the best in the world for this kind of project. We have space, we have the gym and we have everything we need,” Caudrelier said.