by Oliver Dewar
In the Global Ocean Race, with nearly 40 knots blowing and an enormous swell rolling in from the Atlantic, the Italian-Slovak duo of Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo crossed the finish with Class40 Financial Crisis off the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne, taking second place overall in the fleet of the four remaining boats in the circumnavigation.
Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo thunder towards the finish line and second place - Global Ocean Race 2011-12
Nannini and Frattaruolo crossed the finish line at 15:49:48 GMT (17:49:48 local) having taken 19 days 01 hour 19 minutes and 48 seconds to race the 4,030 miles from Charleston, USA, averaging 8.81 knots across the North Atlantic and trailing the victorious, overall winners, Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough on Cessna Citation, by just over one day.
Nannini has completed the 30,000-mile GOR with three different co-skippers, racing with British sailor, Paul Peggs, in Leg 1; Spanish Mini 6.50 sailor, Hugo Ramon, for Legs 2 and 3 and was joined by fellow Italian and ex-Mini sailor, Sergio Frattaruolo, for the final two legs and with a 3-4-2-2-2 scorecard for the complete circumnavigation, Financial Crisis takes second overall on points in the 2011-12 GOR.
Despite the huge waves and the spray breaking over the towering, western walls of Les Sables d’Olonne’s sea defences as Financial Crisis charged at the finish line, the conditions were relatively mild for Nannini and Frattaruolo. 'We were actually quite lucky as the wind started to drop as we came closer to Les Sables,' says Nannini. 'A front with about 45 knots of wind came through this morning and it was quite hairy to finish like that!' he adds. 'I seem to attract heavy winds!'
Marco Nannini has completed the GOR on a very tight budget and has funded his campaign through private savings, partial sponsorship and donations: 'I’d prefer to have done this with some money,' he explains of changes he would have liked for the race. 'It could have taken away some of the stress, without doubt.' The Italian-Slovak skipper was unable to afford new sails for Financial Crisis and many of the sails circumnavigated the globe in the 2008-09 GOR when the Class40 raced as Team Mowgli. 'Last night, for example, we were hauling a destroyed sail out of the water and this was a sail that has now been round the world twice,' he explains. 'It was an A5 that now has about 80,000 miles on it.'
Nannini’s Italian co-skipper, Sergio Frattaruolo, however, was on the boat for the final two legs and had little of the funding-related stress: 'It’s been an incredible experience sailing with Marco,' said the former Mini 6.50 sailor as the champagne celebrations continued on the race pontoons. 'It’s been very long, but I’ve now got Class40 experience for the next edition of the GOR, which I want to race in the single-handed division,' he confirms. 'It’s incredible to be standing on the Vendée Globe pontoon and I really hope that in four years I’ll be here as a competitor.'
For Nannini, though, offshore racing must take a backseat temporarily: 'Don’t ask me if I want to do the Vendée Globe!' he commented. 'Maybe I’ll do another circumnavigation, but not until I’ve had a couple of beers and what I’ve just done has sunken in,' explains Nannini. 'I’m getting married in October so I’ve no desire to be sailing another leg of this race for the next few months.'
The GOR’s Race Ambassador, Dee Caffari MBE, has completed four circumnavigations, solo, double-handed and fully-crewed and appreciates the immense achievement of the GOR skippers: 'Huge congratulations to the crew on Cessna Citation and Financial Crisis for completing their circumnavigation around the world,' says Caffari. 'Conrad and his four co-skippers and Marco with three co-skippers have both done a first rate job growing to know their yachts and learning her intricacies along the way to enable them to get the best out of her.'
Caffari has completed one Vendée Globe race taking sixth place out of 30 starters and the finish port of the GOR holds very strong memories: 'Crossing the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne not only marks the end of the leg triumphantly, but also of the whole Global Ocean Race,' continues Dee. 'The Class40s have raced around the world and, rather poignantly, they cross the same finish line that the Vendée Globe fleet will cross next year when they finish the pinnacle event.'
The significance of the finish port’s location will not be lost on the eight GOR skippers: 'I am sure that this finish line will register with the sailors and after some time for rest and recuperation, I’m sure we’ll have a new group of sailors that hope the Global Ocean Race in a Class40 will provide a valuable stepping stone towards a potential Vendée Globe campaign.'
However, with Cessna Citation and Financial Crisis safely docked on the Vendée Globe pontoon in the centre of Port Olona, there are still two GOR Class40s racing; the South African duo of Phillippa Hutton-Squire and Nick Leggatt on Phesheya-Racing and the Dutch father-and-son duo of Nico and Frans Budel with Sec. Hayai.
'The remainder of the fleet are also not far from finishing and will be enjoying the last few days at sea despite the weather conditions providing strong winds,' explains Caffari as a SW gale is forecast as the two Class40s approach the Bay of Biscay. 'Their communication and display of tenacity and determination both ashore and afloat has been inspirational to many following the race,' believes Dee. 'I do take my hat off to the majority of the fleet who have undertaken this race with little to no sponsorship, with just the undeterred focus to achieve their dream of sailing around the world.'
GOR leaderboard at 16:00 GMT 7/6/12:
1. Cessna Citation 17d 22h 50m 14s (162 points)
2. Financial Crisis DTF 19d 01h 19m 48s (132 points)
3. Phesheya-Racing DTF 465 9.4kts
4. Sec. Hayai DTF 633 10.4kts
Global Ocean Race website