Team AkzoNobel claimed the final podium place of Leg 4, crossing the Hong Kong finish line in the early hours of Saturday morning to scoop third position after a rollercoaster race from Melbourne.
The result is the best finish yet for Simeon Tienpont’s crew, and comes after an extremely tight turnaround in Australia in which boat damage sustained in the Southern Ocean meant that the crew managed just a couple of days rest following a brutal Leg 3.
“It’s a real boost, and it gives us confidence,” admitted Tienpont. “It’s important for the rest of the race. You work hard and you try to find that gap, performance-wise. These guys and girls didn’t flinch once, and we kept fighting back.”
He continued: “In the end, Scallywag pulled a good card. They were 100 miles back, but that’s sailing – I’m happy for them! We all work to be at the front. Everyone on board wants to win, and it’s not over til it’s over.”
Tienpont explained that Leg 4 was much trickier than he expected. “It was the biggest Doldrums I’ve ever crossed,” he said. “A lot of tactics, crew work, no sleep, changing sails, manoeuvres, and frustration.
“But I think we did really well – compliments to the team. You get unlucky moments but it’s how to deal with those and I think we did that well.”
There was late drama for the purple boat as they diverted course on the final approach to Hong Kong to support Vestas 11th Hour Racing following a collision with another vessel – but after receiving the all clear to continue racing, AkzoNobel finally crossed the line 17 days 21 hours and 6 seconds after departing Melbourne.