The fifth and final leg of the Global Ocean Race 2011-12 is now underway. At 10:30 local time (14:30 GMT) on Saturday 19 May, the four remaining Class40s from the original fleet of six boats crossed the start line in Charleston, South Carolina and set off on the 3,600-mile journey bound for Les Sables d’Olonne, France.
Motoring out of their base in the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina at Patriot’s Point, the four double-handed boats gathered in the Cooper River south of the Ravenel Bridge and north of the start line stretching from a flagpole mounted on Charleston’s Waterfront Park pier to a Committee Boat anchored west of the northern tip of Shutes Folly Island.
In 13-15 knots of north-easterly wind, the South African duo of Phillippa Hutton-Squire and Nick Leggatt were first across the line with Class40 Phesheya-Racing heading south, leaving the golden sand of Shutes Folly and the 200-year-old, American Civil War artillery position and prisoner-of-war camp, Castle Pinckney, at the island’s southern tip to port.
As the fleet rounded the channel marker near Pitts Shoal in the Southern Channel, the Kiwi-Australian duo of Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough took pole position with their Akilaria RC2 Cessna Citation, leading the fleet out of Charleston Harbour between Fort Sumter to the west and Fort Moultrie on Sullivans Island to the east with Phesheya-Racing in second place; the Dutch father-and-son duo of Nico and Frans Budel in third with Sec. Hayai and the Italian-Slovak team of Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo in fourth with Financial Crisis.
Leaving the protection of the offshore breakwaters, the swell built rapidly as the GOR fleet hardened up for the first section of the leg from Charleston to Cape Hatteras, 255 miles along the coast from the GOR’s stopover port, with the prospect of headwinds for the first 24 hours at sea.
The route across the North Atlantic with springtime depressions rolling eastwards from the USA should provide fast downwind sailing for the fleet before they return to Europe. But first, excellent tactics will be crucial as the sailors choose their path through the strong currents of the Gulf Stream, keeping out of the biggest winds of the low pressure areas and heading north-east to the Leg 5 bluQube Scoring Gate positioned at 49W with the virtual gate’s northern limit a 42N, 320 miles SE of Newfoundland.
Having crossed the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the Class40s must stay clear of the light airs in the Atlantic High Pressure centred over the Azores and keep a constant lookout for cargo vessels in the busy shipping lanes. Finally, after around 20 days, the GOR fleet will arrive at the finish line of the race at the home of solo and shorthanded sailing at Les Sables d'Olonne in the Bay of Biscay, France, between 8-10 June, crossing the finish line south the Nouch Sud buoy – the same start/finish line used by the Vendée Globe single-handed round-the-world race.
GOR overall points after four legs and crew for Leg 5:
1. Cessna Citation 126. Conrad Colman/Scott Cavanough. NZL/AUS 2. Financial Crisis 102. Marco Nannini/Sergio Frattaruolo. ITA-SK/ITA 3. Phesheya-Racing 72. Phillipa Hutton-Squire/Nick Leggatt. RSA 4. Sec. Hayai 24. Nico Budel/Frans Budel. NDL Buckley Systems RTD Campagne de France RTD
Global Ocean Race website
by Oliver Dewar
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8:05 PM Sat 19 May 2012GMT
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2011 -12 Global Ocean Race
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