In the Global Ocean Race, at 21:54:44 GMT (23:54:44 local) on Sunday, the fourth and final double-handed Class40, Sec. Hayai, crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with the Dutch father-and-son duo of Nico and Frans Budel taking fourth place in Leg 5 and fourth place overall.
Arriving off Les Sables d’Olonne after 22 days 08 hours 24 minutes and 44 seconds of racing from Charleston, USA, the Dutch duo were quick to light an orange smoke flare in celebration as they passed between the GOR’s Committee Boat and the Nouch Sud buoy, swiftly snuffed their spinnaker and turned into the channel leading to Port Olona and a large and happy reception committee made up of the Budel-family waiting on the Vendée Globe pontoon.
As his children swarmed over the moored Class40, Frans Budel described Leg 5: 'The whole leg was a little bit tough going from one gale to the next, but we enjoyed it,' confirms the Dutch co-skipper. 'But sometimes we had a lot of windless areas, so it was a big challenge,' he adds. 'This was my first Atlantic crossing and I never believed I would do it and it’s an immense feeling to be here.'
The Sec. Hayai GOR campaign has been an example of tenacity, determination and willpower as the Budel family have refused to buckle under setbacks that would have scuppered many other offshore racing projects. Nico Budel raced in GOR Leg 1 with Dutch co-skipper, Ruud van Rijsewijk, but following the start of Leg 2 from Cape Town racing with his 41-year-old son, Frans, Sec. Hayai dismasted on the first night at sea off the Cape of Good Hope.
Disappointed but undeterred, the Budels returned to Cape Town unassisted, ordered a new carbon mast from Southern Spars and a new sail wardrobe from North Sails and despite retiring from Leg 2 and missing Leg 3 through the Pacific Ocean, 72-year-old Nico Budel sailed Sec. Hayai single-handed to the Leg 3-4 stopover in Punta del Este and re-joined the GOR fleet, sailing Leg 4 with fellow Dutchman, Erik van Vuuren. However, the Dutch drama wasn’t over and Sec. Hayai pulled into Fortaleza, Brazil, two weeks into the leg from Uruguay to Charleston as Budel was required urgently in Holland.
With lightning speed, the Budel’s contacted Van Vuuren’s girlfriend, Yvonne Beusker, and as soon as the GOR Race Committee was satisfied that Beusker had the correct sailing CV and safety qualifications, she flew direct to Brazil and Sec. Hayai spent minimal time suspended from racing and re-joined the GOR fleet.
As a sailing team, the Budel family have proven constantly that they can overcome significant setbacks and the Leg 5 partnership clearly worked: 'There may be a next time, but I’ll have to discuss it with my wife first!' says Frans. 'We may sail together again, but it depends on Nico as he likes to sail solo.' As Nico Budel moved from one family group to another along the wide, wooden pontoon, he paused to reflect on the 4,000-mile voyage with his son: 'He taught me a lot and I hope he learnt a lot from me,' said the grinning Dutchman. 'Solo sailing is my passion and it always will be,' he adds. 'There is a huge difference between sailing double-handed and sailing solo and sometimes it’s great to be with someone else, but personally, solo sailing just suits me.'
Meanwhile, the Budel’s four-year-old Akilaria, is in good shape and ready to return to Holland. 'The boat was perfect,' says Frans. 'The first time we got 40 knots of wind, Nico was concerned that we must just hang on and survive the gale, but we found out, two or three times in the gales, that she can sail in 40 knots with no problems, he explains. 'The boat really is very strong.'
While the four double-handed teams relax and recover with family, friends and sponsors, the next official engagement is the GOR Prize Giving on Saturday 16 June at the Club House de Port Olona hosted by La Ville des Sables d’Olonne.
Overall GOR 2011-12 ranking and points:
GOR leaderboard at 02:00 GMT 10/6/12:
1. Cessna Citation 17d 22h 50m 14s (162 points)
2. Financial Crisis 19d 01h 19m 48s (132 points)
3. Phesheya-Racing 21d 09h 10m 21s (96 points)
4. Sec. Hayai 22d 08h 24m 44s (42 points)
Buckley Systems RTD
Campagne de France RTD
Global Ocean Race website
by Oliver Dewar
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12:33 AM Mon 11 Jun 2012GMT
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