by Oliver Dewar
The Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) fleet are on their 27th day at sea in Leg 4 from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Charleston, USA.
Shaking out a reef on Phesheya-Racing at the start of a long day - Global Ocean Race 2011-12
It has been a painful 24 hours for Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattarruolo in second place on Financial Crisis in the double-handed GOR as the two chasing Class40s, Phesheya-Racing and Sec. Hayai, eat heavily into their lead and Cessna Citation extends quickly away to the north and the finish line in Charleston.
For the Italian-Slovak duo on Financial Crisis it was a very black Friday: 'The whole day we negotiated the passage of many rain clouds which played havoc with the wind,' reported Nannini on Saturday morning. 'On average, we had a lot less wind than predicted by the forecast and after each downpour we hoped things would stabilise,' he says, but fortune would not favour Financial Crisis and Nannini and Frattarruolo stumbled from squall to windhole in an endless cycle of torture. 'Even more annoyingly, we found an average of 1.5 knots of adverse current,' he adds.
The net result is a 100-mile mile loss by Nannini and Frattarruolo to the South Africans on Phesheya-Racing since midday on Friday. 'The miles have evaporated faster than the cold sweat over my forehead at the thought of being overtaken after all this hard work,' says Nannini. At 12:00 GMT on Saturday, Financial Crisis was just 42 miles ahead of the South African Class40 as Nannini’s covering move to the west became the only action available: 'The goal is to go and cover Phesheya whilst hopefully also getting out of the adverse current,' he explains. 'I'm not sure this is the fastest way to Charleston, but once we are in front of them and pretty much in the same winds, they will have a much tougher time overtaking us,' he predicts.
Meanwhile, fleet leaders Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough were flying north on the Akilkaria RC2 Cessna Citation. 'Last night was spectacular with sustained periods at 18 knots and a whole position sched where our slowest speed was 11 knots,' reported Colman late on Friday night. 'It was extremely wet on deck with a constant deluge of spray and when the sun came up this morning we found that the boat was festooned with sprigs of Sargasso weed all along the lifelines and up into the rigging,' he describes of the rocket ride towards the finish line, just over 400 miles to the north at midday on Saturday.
However, a light patch blocking the route to South Carolina may slow the Kiwi-Australian duo in the next 24 hours: 'After hoarding our Pringles supply for all of the leg, and celebrating our passing the 1,000 mile mark with a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, we now have enough to have a whole snack sized packet each day!' notes Colman. 'Nice to know that speed has its rewards although it’s the fresh food on the horizon that’s keeping us going.'
On Phesheya-Racing, Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire were squeezing every knot from the Akilaria Class40 on Friday night: 'Nick helmed and was doing speeds like ten, 11, sometimes 12 knots but the sea was rather messy,' reported Phillippa Hutton-Squire early on Saturday morning as Phesheya-Racing kept up the speed through squalls and rain clouds. 'The boat took off like a rocket 12, 13, 14 or higher!' continues Hutton-Squire. 'Let’s hope we can put in a few miles tonight against the other boats and not have too many more rain squalls to fight,' she adds.
South of Phesheya-Racing by 100 miles at noon on Saturday in fifth place, Erik van Vuuren and Yvonne Beusker continue to poll the highest speed averages in the fleet at over 12 knots with the Dutch Class40 Sec. Hayai.
GOR leaderboard 12:00 GMT 28/4/12:
1. Cessna Citation DTF 424 7.9kts
2. Financial Crisis DTL 389 8.3kts
3. Phesheya-Racing DTL 431 9.9kts
4. Sec. Hayai DTL 533 12.2kts
Global Ocean Race website