Triana, Spirit of Helsinki & Maiden Battle for Gold in McIntyre OGR

Former Whitbread Winner, L’Esprit D’équipe FR (85), making 10 knots toward the finish line and is expected to cross tonight around 1900hrs UTC 13TH APRIL to take a provisional second place in line honours LEG 4, after 216 days at sea and a possible shake up of the declared IRC first place.

The French yacht skippered by Lionel Regnier, has finally shown in this leg what she is capable of, not always placing as high on the leaderboard as they’d hoped. Designed by the architect Philippe Briand, she was Formerly known as 33 Export and Esprit de Liberté, and has taken part in three Whitbread races, winning the 1985 Whitbread race.

The hard-working crew are certainly not going to rest until they cross the line and many are now holding their breath to see if she can actually beat the PEN DUICK VI IRC finish time, which was not originally expected…

“This is a crazy situation for sure with final positions being decided not just by crew work but with a matrix of performance, weather, currents and luck but that is yacht racing so we are all excited by such a close result leveled by the IRC rule after 8 months racing around the world!” DON MCINTYRE, OGR FOUNDER

The McIntyre Ocean Globe race finish could not be closer or more intense and it’s only going to get more nail biting!! The French, Finns and the iconic UK entrant Maiden UK (03) are engaged in an epic battle for the coveted title of Overall IRC Race Winner of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Whitbread Round the World Race, nothing could honour that race more than the finale being witnessed on the North Atlantic between the determined crews scrambling to take first place in the inaugural OGR.

The Maiden crew fighting for every mile. They’re very keen to get home to their family and friends awaiting them in Cowes. Credit: OGR2023/Maiden

At the time of writing, the Swan 53 Triana FR (66) was topping the Overall IRC leaderboard, with a projected elapsed time of (180d 14h ). Skippered by Jean d’Arthuys, the French yacht only holds a (2 HOURS) lead over the Finns onboard the former Whitbread yacht Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) who have a projected elapsed time of (180d 16h ). Maiden UK (03) and her all-female crew, who raced in the 1985 Whitbread, sit just (4 HOURS) behind Spirit of Helsinki in third place – with a corrected elapsed time of (180d 19h 58m 18s). Only hours are separating these yachts who raced across the Cowes start line 216 days ago to begin their round-the-world adventure. It’s time to lay your bets between these pioneers of retro sailing.

But this is where it all gets so interesting, with relative speed over distance becoming the key factor in play in determining the rankings. Spirit of Helsinki and Maiden are due to cross the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes finish line in the coming days, giving them a provisional Overall Race IRC ranking and time. Triana, having been caught in wind hole after wind hole, still has over 1200 nm to race. This means that Triana will need to race consistently faster than both Spirit of Helsinki and Maiden over the same distance to remain in first position. At the moment it’s not looking good for Triana. But that’s sailing, and anything can happen – Triana’s favorable IRC rating MIGHT just save them.

Despite knowing their dream of IRC overall title slips without every wind hole the crew are trying to remain positive.

“Drifted past Santa Maria (Azores) yesterday and still there this am. Three of us went in for a hull scrub. Keeping the spirits high despite our challenges.” tweeted Triana.

Just two days ago it looked like the French legend, Pen Duick VI FR (14), could take the Overall IRC title but has now slipped to 4th place on the IRC Overall leaderboard – a prime example of how rankings can change so quickly!

Triana, who took IRC honours for Leg 3, Cape Town to Punta del Este, started Leg 4 with an almost seven-day lead on the IRC overall rankings, many assuming they would take the title unchallenged. But that has proved far from the case. Despite being one of the smallest yachts in the fleet, the Swan 53 has consistently impressed with impressive speeds, keeping up with far larger yachts throughout the circumnavigation. But Leg 4 has proved a nightmare for the French yacht and crew with inconsistent winds dogging them from the beginning. They have also reported running low on food supplies – surviving on a diet of soup and flying fish.

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