ERIC PERON ON DONGFENG. Because the Horn is there!
More than two days behind schedule due to the violent cyclone Pam plaguing the northeast of New Zealand, the fleet of the Volvo Ocean Race was finally able to leave Auckland (NZ) last night on Tuesday, March 17 for Leg 5 to Itajaí (BRA) via Cape Horn. An emblematic passage for any sailor going around the world! Between real desire and legitimate concern, Eric Peron is eager to get stuck in.
A few hours prior to the start of the 5th leg, the Breton skipper gave us his impressions of this iconic navigation in the roaring 40s and howling 50s. Eric Peron: « … For this very special leg in the South Pacific and its rough weather bringing cold and humidity (shorts have been stored in the closet), we’re going to hell. Or so I thought when I was a kid and dreamed of being there. But we have one more serious trigger on board with the arrival of Damian Foxall replacing Thomas Rouxel. Damian was also aboard the winner of the last edition, Groupama. Moreover, we have a very knowledgeable, very thorough skipper. He is impressive, shows a lot of willpower and knows how to trust. He is happy to be there and lets it be known, even though he’s conscious of the fact that compared to our competitors, there are novices on board, with our two Chinese who have never sailed in over 30 knots (55km/h) of winds.
It also seems to surprise everyone that we have such a crew rotation. But it is perhaps a key to our performance. To have new blood and motivated guys for each leg is great, it’s new energy, new stories. Of course, there is always a little adaptation time required, but it goes fast with pros.
As for me, I have not really considered disembarking because I know what I garnered as experience is fundamental for my future projects such as the Vendée Globe, even though I know Be One Team misses me ashore. And I cannot restrain my huge motivation to close the loop.
In absolute terms, we improve during each leg, so it makes sense that we can do better. If we have a bit of pressure, it’s still very well managed. But we are confident because we know that we have good boat speed. We spent so much time alongside with our co-leader Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing that we now have a better view on how they trim their boat. We’re as fast as them, any complex we could have had has disappeared. As Charles (Caudrelier) has stated, our ambitions have no limits. As far as our leg 4 ranking is concerned, a 3rd place is paradoxically our worst position since the start, but we finished only 8 minutes after the 1st and 6 min after the 2nd on leg 4… « .
Bye Bye Kiwis
Unquestionably, we all would have liked to extend our stopover in the Maori land where competitive sailing is almost a religion. Eric Peron did not resist its charm.
Eric Peron. « … Well, we leave a great country, everyone is unanimous: this homeland of sailing is mindblowing. I have not had too much of my six days off to enjoy and visit a bit! I had the chance to treat myself to a little hike in the northeast of the North Island. I stopped in a small isolated cottage, anchored on the banks of an estuary surrounded by a beautiful and prolific nature. A small boat was part of the package, we were able to go across to the other bank and walk in a nearly untouched nature. Magical! The kind of place where I could well live in a few years when I have completed one or two round the world trips…! It was great to unwind, relax, share … « .
Haka for Dongfeng, they led the inshore race in the Hauraki Bay at the start of the 5th leg and as a consequence were the first team to take the great south road. But the differences are insignificant. This will probably change again according to route options.
VIDEO. Eric Peron told about the South Seas
Volvo Ocean Race 2014/2015
Leg # 5. Auckland (NZ)) / Itajai (Bra) – 6 776 nautical miles/12 550 km
Start. Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 20:00 UTC
ETA in Itajai. Between 6 and 13 April 2015
Overall ranking after 4 legs. Dongfeng, co-leader with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing with 8 points, is second overall on the leaderboard, Team Brunel is third with 14 points.