Charles Caudrelier / Dongfeng Race Team

gender Male
Carolijn, below, makes and eats a meal. "I'm eating the big boy cereal, specially made by Neal. Lots of granola and nuts and dried fruit." Talks about bad sea state 16/18 hours ago. MAPFRE right next to them. Fun racing. Jérémie eats. "Chinese breakfast... Quick to cook." Talks about being close to MAPFRE, concentrating while driving on being fast. A very close battle. Interesting, but a bit exhausting at times." Charles, at the nav station, talks about MAPFRE. Boats staying together to cross the doldrums. "Lots of boats are following us. Every time we change a bit our heading they change. But today we don't know where to go because we have no forecast... We are using the forecast from the start... Now we have the forecast, and can see we are in a good position."Charles driving fast on port gybe; firehose in his face. Washing machine with what loooks like J2 and a reefed main. Kevin, below, talks about going through a front. Is why they've been going northeast. To catch this pressure. If you're not overpowered you need to put up more sail. Slomo washing machine in the cockpit.In light winds they sail downwind. Charles calls below to rouse the off watch. Kevin gets dressed, goes on deck. Crew grinding in the cockpit as they peel to the MH0. Marie grinds, wearing a foulie top that says "Liu". Oops. Kevin on the bow lowering the old sail. A competitor (MAPFRE?) is visible ahead of them. Kevin eats. GoPro shot of him removing and clipping into a halyard, then he goes to the clew of the MH0. He attaches a new sheet, checks the leech line, and gives a thumbs up to Marie, who secures his line so he can pull himself back to the deck. "Merci." Below he takes off his foulies and gets back in his bunk.Dongfeng docking out at the start of Leg 6. Black waves goodbye to the people on the dock. We see the MH0 being unfurled as Charles steers on the approach to the starting line. AkzoNobel is visible ahead of them and to leeward, the rest of the fleet to weather. Pascal with a tablet in his hand. Jérémie, after the start, looking forward at AkzoNobel and Brunel ahead of them. We see them furling the MH0 for a tack from port to starboard, then unfurling during a tack back to port. Charles: "Nice one." Pascal navigating. Their jumper going over. Kevin standing on the lifelines to do something to the clew of the MH0. Passing the leaving buoy. Later, they prepare to peel to the J1. Daryl: "Put the sheet around the winch." Bagging the lowered MH0 on the foredeck. Charles on the helm, talks about the start. Not so great in terms of their start, but good to have wind in exiting Hong Hong. Now at the back of the fleet. Daryl: "Looking forward to sailing into Auckland. Probably 20 days away. Don't want to get too excited yet." Jack, stacking on the foredeck, says pretty much the same thing. "Long way to go though."Shots of them sailing fast on starboard gybe. Winch, washing machine. Charles smiling on the helm. Carolijn trimming. Below, Frank says, "The plan is a long, downwind, starboard gybe with some wind variation." Sometimes an opportunity to gybe to position the boat for the next shift. When they pass Taiwan there will be a big wind shadow; have to anticipate that. Not easy to attack the boats in front. They have better wind. Shots of a gybe from starboard to port, then another gybe from port to starboard. Crew working in the cockpit.Franck, at the nav station, looks at routing software and talks in French; I caught "Vestas." He talks about it over his shoulder to Jack (?) in the bunk behind him. Then he talks to Charles. On deck, Charles talks about how they have just taken the lead, or are in the same position as Scallywag, "but we prefer our position for the future. We should be the boat with the most wind for the next few hours." Hopes to have left the doldrums and to be the first to catch the tradewinds. A booby flies over the masthead.Night shots: looking up from the stern at the full moon behind clouds. Wake. Jérémie's hands on the wheel; him steering. Charles, standing forward of the wheel, talks in French. Looking up the mast at stars. Then, in the daytime, we see rain falling to weather. Franck and Jérémie look that way. Horace looks through binoculars. To weather we see three competitors. From left to right: AkzoNobel, MAPFRE, and Vestas. Justine explains: They were leading, hit a squall, the boats to weather stayed in more pressure and now they're all in a line again. "It's a bit disappointing but it happens sometimes." Jérémie jokes about how he was on watch and lost 10 miles. Daryl jokes with him; Charles steers. Crew works in the cockpit (sail change?). Charles: Not sure they're already in the doldrums. But for sure is a new start. And after leading the race most of the time from the start of the leg, all the boats are in the same line now: Akzo, MAPFRE. Now they'll have two or three days in light winds, and maybe will determine the race who escapes from it first and gets the new wind. Shot of AkzoNobel close to leeward. Horace: "Not easy, not what we want, but this is the Volvo Ocean Race. No one knows what will happen at the end." Talks about how it's too hot, and he wants to take off his "everything."Justine trims. "Main on." Jérémie grinds. We see a series of closeups: The chain drive in the pedestal turning. The drive linkages and drive shafts. The winch drum. The drum turning. The sheet coils on the drum. The mainsheet block. The mainsail, looking up. Time-lapse view of the instruments on the mast. Fom top to bottom: Boatspeed, True Wind Direction, Relative Wind Angle, True Wind Speed, Heading (degrees True). Speed gradually builds during the time lapse from 16.3 to 18.9. Shot shifts to slomo as spray comes over the bow. Shot of the keel bulb under water to weather. Kevin working the bow in spray. Crew in the cockpit: Carolijn on the helm, Horace trimming, Daryl on the pedestal, Franck standing to leeward. A small ship is several miles away to leeward, approaching on a collision course. Kevin looks at them through binoculars. Charles talks to them in French on a handheld VHF. Kevin explains that Charles talked to them, and they said they were happy to bear away a bit so as not to cross in front of them. Kevin: "Charles told them that was very nice, but that if they can also grab AkzoNobel to leeward of us that's perfect as well." Martin asks if they could be pirates. Carolijn laughs: "Very friendly pirates." Kevin explains they are laying cable or a military vessel or something like that. Carolijn makes a lanyard-pulling motion (like "honk your horn!"), then waves to the ship, which is approaching them a half mile away on their leeward quarter. She gives a thumbs up. Carolijn: "Looks like something military. They are French-speaking, so I'm guessing something to do with New Caledonia." Slomo shots: Carolijn and Justine grinding on the aft pedestal, someone trimming, Franck on the helm, spray, Carolijn taking coils off a winch, Horace giving a thumbs-up from the clew of the J3, Carolijn spraying her face from a water bottle.Pascal reads the latest sched over the PA system. He talks with Martin in French. He talks with Charles. Charles: "Not so bad news. Vestas has not been so fast in reaching. We are leading again with 7 miles. In a good position... We can hope to keep this distance or increase it as of the entrance to Melbourne Bay." Talks about what happened yesterday, thinking it was their last gybe and then having the keel problem. "We don't know if we will be able to cant the keel to max cant on port."Charles, at the nav station, looking bummed as he looks at routing software. He says it isn't good news; Vestas has passed them and they have not that much wind. (Though looking at the tracker now, I'm not sure Vestas is actually going to get ahead of them.) But they have to gybe, while Dongfeng can go straight to the mark. So he thinks Dongfeng can stay ahead. Not fair, because they are so far apart they have to do different routings, and the routing was poor for them and better for Vestas. Also the keel problem has cost them some key miles; he hopes that isn't the difference between second and third place.Cabin shot of the stern with Dongfeng sailing fast under gray skies. Slomo waves, spray, washing machine. Of the three on the stern, in closeup it looks like Marie grinding. She makes a shaka sign. On the helm, Fabien eats something orange. On the mainsheet, Stu looks resolute; starts to eat something. Below, Charles takls about the remainder of the leg. Five days to go, 2,000 miles. Two big decisions: first one tonight, second one in two days, when they decide to go north to go to Melbourne. That will be the key probably. For the moment, strongest point of Dongfeng, reaching. MAPFRE was quite fast downwind. "I would say that 80-90% of the race now is downwind. Unfortunately it's not the big reaching. I think everyone is happy to be ahead of MAPFRE, but everybody knows that they are not far... We will do it but for sure it will be a great fight.... As you know it is a very important leg... To be first is good but it's always a lot of pressure." Shot of writing on a Dongfeng bumper sticker on the cabin bulkhead: "Never give up. - Wolf" On the stern, Marie throws bits of food for the person trimming the main (Stu?) to catch in his mouth. He succeeds; they high-five.Slomo shot of waves through the wheel. Interesting slowed-down audio. An albatross flies by. Slomo grinding. Slomo faces; Carolijn on the helm. Slomo trimming. Below, Carolijn takes off her gear. She talks to Martin; behind Fabien is making food in the galley. Carolijn: "Yes, it's painful. Not necessarily painful, it's just tough. It's very tiring. You get to a certain stage where you're so tired that you start tripping over your own feet. If you don't watch out it can be quite dangerous." Talks about even 20 minutes lying down in your bunk, even if you don't sleep, helps you get the energy to make the next gybe. "I've lost count. I don't even know if we're halfway yet. Just in the last 3 hours of my off watch we've done 6 gybes?... Entertaining stuff." Fabien eats with a bit of a 1,000-yard stare. (Looking at the tracker through this section it's been brutal; Dongfeng and MAPFRE are at the front of the fleet within AIS range of each other having a running gybing battle to see who can stay closer to the exclusion zone.) Pascal, below, drops his head and rubs it. Looks tired. We pull back and see he's watching Charles at the nav station from his bunk. Charles talks to Martin: "It's very simple. During 30 hours we're having to gybe every hour so it's a nightmare. Not very funny but we have no choice. We have the ice limit for a good reason... You have to stack every time, 600 kilos each time... You don't manage to sleep... That's life at the extreme for sure. On the positive side, we are ahead with MAPFRE and fighting for the first place, so it's good."Dongfeng slats in light winds. Carolijn calls as someone else pulls in a line: "3, 2, 1, okay; hold furl." Charles, sitting at a winch, says something about using the "masthead upwind" (MH0?). The crew trims the MH0 in light winds. Charles, holding the main steady by hanging onto a thin cable under the boom, talks about having to cross a ridge, a position in high pressure between two winds. Trying to catch the low pressure in the south. Always difficult. "The wind is very shifty, very light, but we are lucky because the system is moving in the right direction." Drone shot of Dongfeng sailing upwind on starboard under the MH0 with another boat (I think Brunel around 2017.12.11 09:55:35 UTC) behind and to weather of them. As the drone circles htem another boat is barely visible further away behind and to leeward of them; I think that's Scallywag. As the shot continues we see Jack going up the mast. He reaches the masthead and the camera circles him, showing the two boats shown before and then showing another boat ahead of them (MAPFRE, then the lead boat). On deck, Jack explains that in the big winds the day before part of the wind sensor unit at the masthead blew off, so he was up there replacing it. "There's not much wind but we're right into the swell. On deck it feels really flat but when you get up there it's exaggerated by a lot. Feels like you're gonna get thrown off every three seconds. Bear-hugging it the whole time. It's really not fun. Nearly got it done."On-board footage of the start of Leg 3 from onboard Dongfeng. Epic footage of close-quarters racing with the other boats in a building wind.In the cockpit, Charles talks in French. Below, Stu talks about how obviously they're pretty disappointed to have fallen behind from the controlling position, but hard work has gotten them back into it. "Got a real race on our hands with Vestas, who are just a few miles behind us. And MAPFRE, a decent chunk ahead but certainly not out of touch." Charles talks about Table Mountain, and its effect on the wind. Carolijn, below: "When everything's against us is when we get the best out of ourselves and push really hard. Marie: "As Pascal [said], we have to be faster and lower." Stu: "We have to remain positive and keep chipping away." Slomo shots of the cockpit, washing machine. Darryl laughing at the pedestal, on the bow. Wake. Below, a loud sound of a sheet being eased. Stu: "A minor wind check; nothing to be concerned about." mast cam view of the deck, spray.Charles, at nav station, talks in French. Intercut with sunrise shots on deck. Charles talks on an intercom to the cockpit: "It's about 10 miles behind us on our course." Wolf shows his hands with discoloration from salt water. Sunset. Various shots of crew working on deck. Daryl on the bowsprit gives hand signals to the back of the boat.Jack launches an ocean science buoy, talks about how they're 3 degrees north of the equator, which means he'll be subjected to the hazing ceremony shortly. At dusk, Jérémie talks with Marie and Charles in French. Jack talks in French about crossing the equator. On the helm, Daryl talks about how he's crossed the equator 16 times. Charles: "I think Stu has the real record."Slomo shots: Jack grinding in the washing machine as water drips from his hat. Compass and spray. Horace in a foul-weather-gear cowl. Spray coming over the cocpit. Stu in the spray. Three egrets flying alongside Dongfeng. Below, Charles takes out a food pack from a storage locker. Jérémie says something to him in French; Charles answers and they both laugh. Shots of the food (some special treat?), Charles calls out the hatch to the cockpit: "I went to the bakery this morning!" The food being shared around among the crew in the cockpit. Charles, a nav station: "It's always good to have a sweet, a surprise." Talks about being in a tough battle, warming conditions, sweat. Charles showering in spray on deck, then rinsing off below wiht water from the galley. Carolijn in her bunk: "Twenty days is too long without a wash... I've just washed my neck, hair; it's nice."Horace, on deck, talks about how now that it's calmed down and sunny everyone is trying to dry out their wet clothes. Jack looks at his sunglasses. Below, Charles sleeps in his bunk. Pascal lies down next to other sleeping crew. Boots and clothing laid out to dry on deck, on top of the cabin.Carolijn, on deck in foulies, gives a thumbs up. Carolijn, below: "I'm lucky enough to be on watch with Stu Bannatyne, AKA 'Magic Stu'. When it's heavy weather downwind sailing, that's the man you want on the wheel. He's doing over-hours for the last couple of days. But the boat just smokes when he's driving." Shots of Stu on deck, slomo of Stu on the wheel. Stu, below, as Carolijn and SiFi take off the foulies in the background: "There's definitely a bit of technique to driving well in heavy airs, especially at night. It's mostly about trying to be accurate, small movements. A bit like trying to drive a car when you're fast. Just try to use very small movements of the wheel... At night might use stars if there's any around to help keep the boat going straight, otherwise it's just a bit of a feel for it, keeping a steady heel angle, and not being afraid to push the boat hard to keep it going fast." Shots of Stu on the wheel at night, slowmo of him being hit with spray at the wheel. Charles, below: "I wanted someone with experience going south. This guy did it eight times, the Volvo Ocean Race. He's probably one of the guys in the world who has raced more in the Southern Ocean. There aren't so much people have a lot of expeirence in this part of the world. I think it's because he spends hours and hours pushing the boat in eight Volvos, and this is the best school to learn in. In France we come from singlehanded sailing, we don't drive so much; we have autopilots, so we can go fast with the pilots but for sure we don't drive enough. This guy has made eight Volvos since he was a kid; probably one of the guys in the world to have much hour driving fast in big waves. That's why he's so strong." Slomo of Stu at the wheel.Charles talking below (in French). Anyone have a translation?Sunrise. Carolijn: "We have come from very far. We have fought really hard to get where we are. So I think we should be happy with a third place. It's a little early to say; it's not over till it's over." Horace: "We still working hard to catch MAPFRE and Vestas." Jack: "We've been at the very bad bit. Hopefully we can stay here or get further ahead." Sunrise. Charles talks below about wishing the race committee would shorten the course to avoid having to sail in the very light conditions at the end. Someone (Horace?) working on the outrigger. Jérémie on the helm.Shot out the companionway as Dongfeng goes to weather on starboard in 15 knots of wind. Carolijn on the helm; Jack leans on the grinder pedestal. Charles, at the nav station, gives a position report (I think?) over a microphone to the cockpit. Horace, getting his foulies on below: "It's getting exciting. We are getting closer to the top three boats, and AkzoNobel is visible in the AIS area... We still have 20 hours until we are arriving in Lisbon. So... we are working hard." Above, Horace stands on the outrigger rigged at the shrouds, doing something to the clew of the J2 (?). Richard: "Smile!" Horace makes the "shaka" gesture. Jérémie on the helm, talks to Charles in French via the intercom, while Stu listens from the grinder handles. Horace works on the stack.Charles, at the nav station, talks in French (about their position relative to the other boats? No idea, really. Need a french-speaking obsessive to help out with translation).Stu: "Clear sky on that side of the cloud." Charles: "But it looks more windy here than here, no?" Someone off camera (Charles? Pascal?): "Starboard is going to be a nightmare." Carolijn: "Painful." Stu (disgusted): "Fuck." Horace moving the stack forward. Carolijn: "The wind's just gone ligher on us... Could be an option to gybe out and split from the fleet. But at the same time the wind's very right at the moment. We've decided we're going to stick with the fleet and see what the pressure's going to do ahead of us." Sounds like maybe Stu was advocating for gybing onto starboard, but Charles overruled. (Per tracker, most of the fleet did end up gybing onto starboard while Dongfeng and Mapfre continued longer on port. Those that gybed earlier did better, leading to Dongfeng entering the Strait of Gibralter in last place.)Pascal, at nav station, is not happy. "We lost a lot to the fleet, so not really a good choice." Night shots of crew gybing, grinding. Shifting the nav station below, stacking below. Pascal and Charles at the nav station, looking concerned.