by Oliver Dewar
Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) fleet are on the 34th day of racing from Wellington to the third leg finish line in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
A misty morning 250 miles off the coast of Patagonia - Global Ocean Race 2011-12
With the Leg 3 finish of Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon in the next 24 hours as their Akilaria Class40 Financial Crisis beats across the 120-mile wide mouth of Rio de la Plata, 500 miles further south, Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire are making solid progress in headwinds with Phesheya-Racing.
Since Friday morning, Leggatt and Hutton-Squire have been on port tack, beating into north-westerlies and holding averages of seven to eight knots as they climb north through the South Atlantic 250 miles off the coast of Patagonia. As the South Africans approach civilisation after 34 days of racing, there are still visible signs of human impact offshore, specifically as they encounter fishing boats along the continental shelf: 'Marine debris saddens me every time I see it,' commented Phillippa Hutton-Squire on Saturday morning. 'Nick and I have done a fair amount of sailing off this coast and every time we return, the marine debris gets worse!'
During their time racing through the high latitudes of the Indian Ocean in GOR Leg 2 and while racing the 5,000 miles through the Pacific between Wellington, New Zealand, and Cape Horn, the wild Southern Ocean was untainted by floating rubbish. 'But as soon as we came north of the Falklands we have started to see traces of human kind scattered over the ocean,' Hutton-Squire continues. 'We’re working together with the Environmental Investigation Agency to record and report the wildlife and the marine debris in the hope that we can do something about it to save our oceans,' she explains. 'We need to encourage others to stop littering and save our planet! So recycle and pick up your litter so it doesn’t get into the ocean!'
At 14:00 GMT on Saturday, Phehseya-Racing was averaging 7.2 knots, while 500 miles to the north and 112 miles from the Leg 3 finish line in Punta del Este, Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon were sailing along the coast of Argentina close inshore, passing the bright lights of Mar del Plata on Friday night and entering the mouth of Rio de la Plata at 14:00 GMT on Saturday. 'There have been a lot of sail changes as we approach the coast,' reported Hugo Ramon late on Friday. 'We’ve used all of our headsails that are still in good shape,' he explains. 'Masthead Code 0, fractional Code 0, Solent, staysail and A6… we’ve thrown them all up to keep us going as fast as possible.' The Punta del Este ETA for Financial Crisis is currently 04:30 local (06:30 GMT) on Sunday.
GOR leaderboard at 14:00 GMT 03/03/12:
1. Cessna Citation Finished 20:37:30 GMT 29/2/12
2. Financial Crisis DTF 112 7.2kts
3. Phesheya-Racing DTL 500 7.2kts
Global Ocean Race website