Beluga Racer first into the Southern Hemisphere

Top German sailors Felix Oehme and Boris Herrmann, Beluga Racer - Portimão Global Ocean Race

News Update: Beluga Racer is first into the Southern Hemisphere in Portimao Global Ocean Race.

A violent doldrum squall handed the South African team of Lenjohn and Peter Van Der Well on Kazimir Partners their first big knockdown of the race. Fortunately them came through unscathed and with sense of humour intact. Peter Van Der Wel described the incident in his log.

'We had lots to tell,' he wrote. 'But it has all become irrelevant after last nights episode. The squalls and the rain have not been kind. We have been watching the clouds with the night vision glasses so we can at least tell when they are close. Its pitch black outside. No moon and no stars. We had just rolled away the Code O and still had a reef in the main when the wind started to build. Our best friend, Old Faithful, our wind generator started to get exited. It’s our first indication that things are going to be a bit windy so we knew is was picking up and also realised we had too much canvas set. Too late. The wind just keep on climbing, eventually topping out at 52 knots. By this this time we had lost control and went into the most spectacular wipe out. For a second I lost sight of my brother and shouted out for him. He had managed to get himself in a bear hug with the spare Code O which was strapped on deck. All I could hear was, I’m OK, but I am not losing the sail over the side. We finally managed to secure a third reef and off again. It must have blown for another hour at a constant 30 plus knots. In a way we are relieved this has happened. It has giving us faith in the mast and especially the boat and also realised that we still need to change a few things in Cape Town before the Southern Legs. So to conclude. Morale is high and Recife is 1072 Miles ahead.'

While Kazimir Partners was careening out of control, life on board Team Mowgli was perfectly pleasant.

'The last 24 hours have really been up and down in typical Doldrums weather, skipper Jeremy Salvesen wrote. 'Although I think we have, in lots of ways, had the best of it. Sure we have been pretty much becalmed for a while but these have only ever proven, so far, to be the lull before the 'storm' as it were and have been quite short-lived. These lulls are pretty infuriating though as you spin through 360 degrees searching for a puff of wind to get you going but that wind is itself spinning round and round - and we don't want to be traveling north for any time at all, however briefly! So long as we have some boat speed however, we have steerage and can then try to do something with the sails to match the course. It always seems that once the new wind starts to kick in, it is from a substantially different direction from what you had prior to the lull. So, set you sails and off you go again.'

Team Mowgli has narrowed the gap on the boats ahead and at the 15:20 UTC poll Salvesen and Thomson had pulled to within 40 miles of Roaring Forty. Desafio de Cabo Hornos had reclaimed second place but by only a mile on a distance-to-go basis so it’s all fun and games on the high seas. Once again Nico Budel on Hayai is the fastest boat in the fleet while it would appear that Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme on Beluga Racer have broken free of the doldrums and are hard on the win on the south side of the doldrum mess. At the most recent poll they are less than a 100 miles north of the equator and are expected to be the first boat into the Southern Hemisphere early Sunday morning.

Roaring Forty. Portimao Global Ocean Race 2008