The two Dongfeng’s secure a podium finish at Spi Ouest

After twelve races contested over four days in light to medium conditions this weekend in La Trinité-sur-Mer, south-west Brittany, both Open 7.50 Dongfeng Race Team crews secured a podium place at the 39th Spi Ouest France.

A familiar face on the series he created some 20 years ago, Nicolas Groleau took the win, but it wouldn’t have taken much for the Dongfeng men and women to upset the usual hierarchy. Indeed, the crew skippered by Marie Riou finished second, just 3 points shy of the top spot, closely followed by the crew skippered by Charles Caudrelier. Beyond the ranking, this ‘Spi Ouest’ proved to be an enjoyable interlude for the team on the long road to the Volvo Ocean Race.

Marie Riou, skipper of Dongfeng Race Team 2: “We’re happy to finish second, though it’s a little frustrating as we were still in with a chance of winning the last race at one point, but it didn’t pan out like that in the end. That’s how it goes and we’re really very happy with the result. We’ve progressed a little more each day and it definitely showed yesterday.”

Charles Caudrelier, skipper Dongfeng Race Team 1: “It was a good regatta with a lot of races, a lot of fun and a good training session for our team. After two good first days, we (DFRT 1) suffered a poor day yesterday. The girls (DFRT2) had an excellent day on Sunday, but the only race today just wasn’t enough. Otherwise, we worked well, managed to raise our game and had a degree of surety in the race zone, so it wasvery good.”

Carolijn Brouwer, DFRT 2: “We had a blast. Our objective was to beat Charles and the boys’ boat, so from that aspect it was a success (laughs)! We’ve also made good progress in terms of speed, on-board communication and tactics, so our efforts have paid off nicely. When you’re in race format, the pressure increases with the excitement and the adrenaline, so it’s really good to see how everyone reacts in these situations.”

Pascal Bidégorry, DFRT 1: “It’s been a long time since I’ve raced at Spi Ouest. It’s always just as fun and interesting and it was great to have the two Dongfeng crews racing against each other.”

Jackson Bouttell, DFRT 1: “We have all had a great time working together, racing together and learning from each other. The links between this race and the Volvo Ocean Race may seem pretty tenuous but there are many aspects the team can take away from this.”

Daryl Wislang, DFRT 1: “It’s been good to race with the team. Maintaining the competitive aspect is a key point in our preparation for the Volvo Ocean Race. Every start and every race situation counts and helps us to further raise our game. We can feel satisfied with the way we’ve sailed the boat this week.”

After one week’s rest, the sailors from Dongfeng Race Team will resume raining again in Lorient aboard the Volvo Ocean 65 monohull Dongfeng. The next race is Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race in early August.

Ranking for the Open 7.50 after 12 races:

1 - (28 points) - Bretagne Telecom, N. Groleau
2 - (31 points) - Dongfeng Race Team 2, M. Riou
3 - (33 points) - Dongfeng Race Team 1, C. Caudrelier
4 - (40 points) - Cool Runnings, T. Juncker
5 - (56 points) - Open Bar - Le Carre, S. Thetiot
6 - (64 points) - Team-Sog/Sepop Morbihan, M. Guillemot
7 - (65 points) - Faun Environnement, A. Godart-Philippe
8 - (75 points) - Qualiconfort Isolation, M. Leys
9 - (79 points) - Lopamael, F. Duthil
10 - (111 points) - Ossian, F. Costes
11 - (116 points) - Open Your Eyes, D. Poisson
12 - (124 points) - Trez Open, D. Goubault
13 - (133 points) - Red Bill, H. Vincent