It’s been a very dramatic few days in the Ocean Globe Race. The Italian IRC leader Translated 9 ITL (09) has retired from Leg 3 after being forced to divert to the Falkland Islands to repair cracks in the hull of the Swan 65, following three severe broaches and a knockdown in heavy weather. This resulted in the biggest change in the race rankings since the start last September.
Six more yachts have successfully completed the notorious Cape Horn passage resulting in 61 new Cape Horners. Most experienced severe weather, the worst of the race so far approaching the Horn. Some made very ‘strange’ tactical decisions with their landfall. Many weather warnings, near whale misses, big seas and if that’s not enough, love in the very chilly air with the fleet planning on sending Valentine’s Day messages to each other. If it’s action you’re after? The OGR tracker is the screen to be at!
At the time of writing, Pen Duick VI FR (14), skippered by Marie Tabarly is holding clear line honours and is due to arrive into Punta del Este first on 13th February, two days ahead of the rest – just in time for the 100th-anniversary celebration of the Yacht Club Punta del Este. Maiden UK (03), Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) and Neptune FR (56) – all former Whitbread entrants, are due to arrive on the 15th. Maiden is leading Spirit of Helsinki by approx. 10 miles so it’s anyone’s call – the friendly rivalry is obviously very intense between these two!!
Strong SW winds along the Argentinian East coast are also providing decent speeds for the rest of the fleet who are due from the 17th onwards.
But it’s not only the leaderboard that is proving very interesting – what has made the withdrawal of the Italian Swan 65 Translated 9 ITL (09) from Leg 3 so dramatic is the effect it’s had on the IRC rankings. Triana FR (66) a Swan 53, one of the smallest yachts in the fleet (Sterna – the other Swan 53), is now FIRST in IRC rankings. The French yacht, skippered by Jean d’Arthuys, rounded Cape Horn at 21:30 UTC in 45-knot winds earlier in the week. First mate Sébastien Audigane and crew have continually surprised many with their speeds – keeping up with the larger yachts in the fleet. Sitting fifth on the leaderboard at present is impressive enough, but not nearly as jaw-dropping as their first IRC placing. It is without a doubt down to their consistent drive to succeed, and constant sail changes.
Skipper Jean has said recently that he now has what he considers the ‘perfect’ young crew – so much so that he and first mate Sébastien could simply retire and have a rest – whilst his team takes control. Not too sure how Sébastien, or in fact the crew, would feel about that?
Galiana WithSecure FI (06), a Swan 55, is now second in IRC, another eyebrow-raising result for the oldest yacht in the race at 53 years. Just hours separate Pen Duick VI, Neptune and Maiden on IRC rankings, again making it impossible to call who’ll triumph amongst these. Translated 9’s forced withdrawal from leg 3 after diverting to the Falkland Islands upon discovering two cracks in the hull threw the IRC rankings wide open. They had been carrying a 72-hour time penalty after a breach of Notice of Race rules relating to sail repairs in Auckland. Now, with the former Whitbread yacht known as ADC Accutrac, retiring this is no longer relevant as they’re out of the rankings due to receiving outside assistance in the Falkland Islands to repair the hull of the 1977 Whitbread entrant.
The crews of L’Esprit D’équipe FR (85), Galiana WithSecure FI (06), White Shadow ESP (17), Outlaw AU (08) and Evrika FR (07) have all become honorary members of the International Association of Cape Horners after successfully making the notorious passage. All experienced the ‘traditional’ big winds up to 60 knots and 8-meter seas, which added to their well-deserved badge of Cape Horn honour and bragging rights!
Times of Passing Cape Horn:
Triana – February 8th 21:30 UTC
L’Esprit d’équipe – February 9th 08:16 UTC
Galiana WithSecure – February 9th 14:52 UTC
White Shadow – February 9th 15:40 UTC
Outlaw – February 10th 00:03 UTC
Evrika – February 10th 11:50 UTC
Former GGR skipper, Tapio Lehtinen, was emotional despite it being his fourth time around Cape Horn wearing the same long johns his late grandmother had knitted for him! He spoke about his talented crew and his determination to inspire young Finnish sailors to continue their nation’s proud tradition of ocean sailing.
“I’m very proud of the young crew and 20 and 21-year-old Kaisla and Viivi. They’ve to be some of the youngest Cape Horners in history. They’re very able seamen and great ocean racing sailors.” TAPIO LEHTINEN, SKIPPER OF GALIANA WITHSECURE
But it’s not all been plain sailing since they’ve left the horn.
“I’m very proud of the young crew and 20 and 21-year-old Kaisla and Viivi. They’ve to be some of the youngest Cape Horners in history. They’re very able seamen and great ocean racing sailors.” TWEETED GALIANA WITHSECURE
And clearly, Tapio has a few fans amongst the crew of the fleet too! Navigator on Outlaw AU (08), India Syms after explaining how elated the crew felt having made their Cape Horn passage, went on to relay how they’ve been busy sorting out their Valentine’s Day plans. It appears Maiden is arranging ‘secret’ Valentine messages to be relayed over the radio between the fleet! It’s obviously top secret – but let’s just say, there might well be a special message on the way to Tapio!
India also explained the Outlaw crew has some maintenance to complete once they get into port – including fixing the damaged tack on their main. They also managed to just avoid hitting a whale that came ‘within touching distance’, just before a half-hour dolphin dancing display.
Meanwhile, the crew of the Spanish Swan 57, White Shadow, will have a few questions to answer when they arrive in Punta del Este on their rather bizarre decision to sail, less than two miles directly in their direction of the rocks of Tierra del Fuego. They altered course, making a safe passage past Cape Horn, but never a dull crew, they certainly keep those watching the tracker on their toes!
The Neptune sailors are also well aware the race is far from over. The former Whitbread yacht, fourth on the leaderboard and IRC has been facing some challenging weather conditions over the last 24 hours.
Neptune FR (56), which raced in the 1977 Whitbread, successfully made the passage at 1138 UTC. Leg 3 has proved their most successful leg in the race so far. Currently, they sit 4th on the leaderboard and 4th in IRC rankings. Skippered by Tanneguy Raffray, they have proved not only to be succeeding leaderboard wise, but also spreading a message of hope for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Circumnavigator Bertrand Delhom has been inspiring and proving that anything is possible once you set your mind to it – even sailing around the world with a condition like Parkinsons.
Sterna SA (42) is due to pass Cape Horn later today (Monday) with Explorer AU (28) the last in the fleet expected Wednesday. The Swan 57, skippered by GGR sailor Mark Sinclair, AKA Captain Coconut received a weather warning for their passage with winds of 40 knots, gusting to 55 knots, with seven meters seas expected for the passage. Mark is well used to these conditions having passed the horn in far bigger winds and seas during the GGR.
It’s now been confirmed that the prestigious and historic Royal Yacht Squadron will signal the end of the inaugural OGR. It’s fitting as the Royal Yacht Squadron cannon started the race back on 10th September when hundreds of spectator boats waved the fleet off as they set sail for Cape Town, mirroring the original 1973 Whitbread. Returning to the English coastline, and crossing the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line, will complete the circle for the adventurers who’ll have just crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Punta del Este, Uruguay on Leg 4 of their eight-month endeavor.
“It’s an exciting prospect that these very special yachts will soon cross the finish line they started from last September. The sailors looked for adventure and hard racing on classic yachts, and boy have they got it in bucket loads. When they finish, they’ll have achieved dreams unimaginable a few years ago, including Cape Horn. They can hold their heads high in the yacht club bar and in life. It will change their lives forever. I’m very proud of their achievements and the OGR. The Royal Yacht Squadron sent them off and we are honored to have them welcome these intrepid sailors home.” DON MCINTYRE, OGR FOUNDER.
The fleet departed Southampton last Autumn bound for Cape Town, then slipped lines from Cape Town to Auckland, New Zealand. They sailed from Auckland on January 14 with the first yacht (Pen Duick VI) due into Punta del Este on February 13th. They’ll leave Punta del Este on March 5th and race back to the UK. They’ll have completed close to 35,000 nm once crossing the finish line. The first yachts are due to arrive in mid-April with the last yachts crossing the finish line two weeks later.
“The Royal Yacht Squadron is delighted to support the McIntyre Ocean Globe round the world race at its important 50th anniversary, and to welcome finishers off our Solent battlements in April 2024. We celebrate the achievement of the diverse 218 male and female competitors from 23 countries who, in the spirit of the original Whitbread Round the World Race and Squadron round-the-world yachting pioneers Francis Chichester, Alex Rose and Robin Knox-Johnson, are circumnavigating the globe without electronic communications, computers, satellites, GPS, or high-tech materials.” REAR COMMODORE YACHTING BRUCE HUBER
Once crossing the finish line, the fleet will dock at Trinity Landing, West Cowes, for the traditional Champagne reception and welcome by family and friends.