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Foxall returns

Irish Volvo Ocean Race legend joins Dongfeng Rce Team for leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race

Thursday March 5th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: New Zealand

Ireland’s top sailor Damian Foxall is the latest recruit to Dongfeng Race Team and what does he love most? In a nutshell - "offshore racing and going fast" - making him the perfect candidate to join the crew on the toughest and longest leg (6,776nm) of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Foxall has competed in four Volvo Ocean Races to date, racing with Charles Caudrelier on board the winning Groupama last time.

“I am delighted to be back ‘in the saddle’. This will be the tenth round the world event that I will be involved with and my eighth rounding of Cape Horn,” said Foxall. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to join Charles and the boys onboard Dongfeng who have been doing such an exemplary job. My role is to fit in as seamlessly as possible and to bring the benefit of a fresh person to the team. It is hard to overstate the difficulty of the Volvo Ocean Race for the sailors and teams, the longest sporting event in any sport, and it is exactly this, the duration, that makes it so hard. A planned rotation of the crew at key times has become a crucial part of any successful teams strategy.”

Setting speed records runs in his blood – round the world non-stop, as a crew member on Steve Fossett's maxi-catamaran Cheyenne in 2004 and 10 years later another speed record racing around Britain and Ireland on the MOD 70 trimaran Oman Sail. There’s not much Foxall hasn’t done when it comes to offshore racing, but the choice of Foxall for leg 5 from Auckland round Cape Horn to Itajai, Brazil also comes down to his own solo and short-handed race experience. Three goes and a leg win at the annual Solitaire du Figaro in the late 1990s (the unofficial world championship of solo sailing that his skipper won in 2004) and victory in the doublehanded Barcelona World Race in 2008, ensures his skill set matches those of his French teammates.

On board Foxall will replace Thomas Rouxel on this leg, continuing the crew rotation plan set by Caudrelier to ensure his eight-man crew are fighting fit and bringing fresh energy into the team.

Navigator, Pascal Bidegorry, is back and will undoubtedly find the Southern Ocean leg less painful than being stuck on land as he was for leg four. And Caudrelier has decided, once again, to take Chinese sailors Yang Jiru (Wolf) and, hopefully, Chen Jin Hao (Horace), although some doubt remains over Horace’s fitness and will be decided next week subject to a decision by our team physio.

“For this next leg, I need the most experienced and strongest crew – both physically and mentally – and I know that Wolf and Horace are the right guys to cope with this ‘endurance’ leg,” said Caudrelier. “It is going to be a tough, freezing cold, big seas and strong winds – only the toughest sailors can endure it. But there is time for Black, Kit, Leo and Kong to get their chance again on later legs.”

Yann Riou is also expected to return for this leg as Dongfeng’s Onboard Reporter.

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