Dongfeng Race Team
Behind the leadership of its French skipper, Charles Caudrelier, Dongfeng Race Team has established itself as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's greatest threat.
Caudrelier won the previous edition as a crewmember, so he knows what's required to win. Luck, however, has not gone entirely his way. Three times, the team has led the fleet into the final miles of a leg before beset by some cruel twist. In both Abu Dhabi and Auckland, it was a windless hole near the finish. On Leg 5, they were leading the fleet when their mast broke.
The key moment of the campaign thus far was leading the fleet into its homeport in Sanya, China, vaulting them ever closer to Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. With a nail-biting third-place finish in Auckland, Dongfeng was then tied at the top, with half the points of the race accounted for.
Poised to battle for overall honors as they took on Southern Ocean, its navigator, Pascal Bidégorry, may have jinxed their chances. "The Southern Ocean, it breaks boats—we must be careful. Everyone must be careful because I want to pass Cape Horn."
Unfortunately, Dongfeng passed the historic landmark with the top third of their mast dangling and broken, forcing them to retire from the leg, and beginning an entirely different race to get to Itajai in time to replace the mast and prepare for Leg 6 to Newport.