Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18: Dongfeng Race Team take overall victory

Dongfeng Race Team
Dongfeng Race Team sealed victory with their first stage win of the race

Dongfeng Race Team have won the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 after eight months of gruelling competition.

The China-based team won the 11th and final leg, from Gothenburg to The Hague, to seal a narrow victory in the 45,000-mile round-the-world race.

They had been in a three-way tie with MAPFRE and Team Brunel going into the final leg.

The stage win was the team's first of the race as the 13th edition proved the closest in the event's history.

Final standings

PositionBoatCountrySkipper
1DongfengChinaCharles Caudrelier (Fra)
2MAPFRESpainXabi Fernandez (Spa)
3BrunelNetherlandsBouwe Bekking (Ned)
4AkzoNobelNetherlandsSimeon Tienpont
5Vestas 11th HourUSA/DenmarkCharlie Enright (US)
6Sun Hung Kai/ScallywagHong KongDavid Witt (Aus)
7Turn The Tide On PlasticUnited NationsDee Caffari (GB)

How the race unfolded - tragedy, drama and arrests

Lost at sea

This year's race turned to tragedy in March with the news that British sailor John Fisher was presumed lost at sea, after falling overboard during the the leg from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai in Brazil.

The 47-year-old from Southampton, part of the Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag team, fell in the water 1,400 nautical miles west of Cape Horn and despite an extensive search, his team-mates were unable to find him.

Afterwards, Fisher's skipper David Witt said he felt responsible after his team-mate was hit by the mainsheet system and knocked overboard.

"To say I feel responsible is an understatement, and that's something I shall live with the rest of my life," he said.

The race has been hit by tragedy before, after three competitors died on the second leg from Cape Town to Sydney in 1973.

John Fisher
A memorial for British sailor John Fisher, who fell overboard in the Southern Ocean and has not been found

Arrests

The race then saw more unwanted headlines in May when seven people involved in the race were arrested during a stopover in the USA.

The seven, who included Team Brunel's navigator Andrew Cape, were arrested for disorderly conduct in Newport, Rhode Island.

All seven were released after admitting disorderly conduct and paying fines.

"We apologise to the Newport community for any disturbance caused and we thank the authorities for their assistance," race organisers said.

In 1981, Team Vivanapoli's crew were arrested after their vessel was halted by an Angolan gunboat 150 miles off the coast of Africa. They were released only after a week of negotiations.

Three-way tie

After almost 45,000 miles of racing, there was still nothing between three teams.

Three boats were tied for the lead heading into the final leg, which organisers said was an "unprecedented scenario in the 45-year history of the race".

Dutch team Brunel completed an incredible comeback to win the penultimate stage from Cardiff to Gothenburg, after sitting sixth at the halfway point in February.

Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking said: "We did a fantastic job as a team and of course the result was better than we could have dreamed.

"The pressure was on but we knew we just needed to sail the boat the best we could and not do any crazy things. Very happy how it all ended up."

Dee Caffari

Deee Caffari
Dee Caffari speaks at a news conference during the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race

Veteran skipper and sea sustainability campaigner Dee Caffari has led the multi-national, youthful Turn the Tide on Plastic boat crew to fifth in the final leg (seventh overall).

Their mission was to highlight the United Nations Environment's Clean Seas: Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign throughout the eight-month race.

In 2014 British skip Caffari, who sailed round the world non-stop three times in 2011, joined the first all-female crew to compete in the race for 12 years.

The Britons

NameRoleTeam
Dee CaffariSkipperClean Seas
Rob GreenhalghWatch captainMapfre
Neal McDonaldPerformance managerMapfre
Simon FisherNavigatorVestas
Steve HaylesNavigatorScallywag
Jules SalterNavigatorAkzoNobel
John FisherCrewScallywag
Bleddyn MonCrewClean Seas
Henry BombyCrewClean Seas
Abby EhlerCrewBrunel
Hannah DiamondCrewVestas
Annie LushTrimmerBrunel