Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme, co-skippers aboard the German yacht Beluga Racer were the first team to pass the mandatory Recife Gate on the first leg of the Portimão Global Ocean Race. In steady winds and with abundant sunshine Beluga Racer passed the gate at 18:56 UTC Tuesday and in doing so claimed the first points of the race. They will receive 2 points for being the first boat to pass the waypoint off the coast of Brazil and now with that obligation behind them they are free to choose the fastest route to Cape Town.
Boris and Felix have sailed a flawless leg to get them to this gate in first place. Despite their youth and relative inexperience as offshore sailors, they have shown a maturity well beyond their years. Added to that they are intuitive sailors that know when to push hard, when to hold back and how to sail a global racecourse like an inshore olympic course. Herrmann is after all the former German National 505 champion and his toughest competitor for years was Felix Oehme. Together they are a formidable team who, mark my words, are going places as professional sailors.
The second place boat, Roaring Forty, is just under 300 miles astern of Beluga Racer and pushing hard. Michel Kleinjans is the leading solo sailor in the race and he too has sailed a near perfect leg to remain ahead of the other double-handed entries. Kleinjans has kept an even hundred miles between himself and Team Mowgli, the chasing double-handed team from the UK. Aboard Team Mowgli co-skippers Jeremy Salvesen and Dave Thomson are enjoying the first major offshore race and admiring the grandeur of the open ocean.
'It is hard to imagine quite how big an ocean is and how little there is out here,' Salvesen wrote. 'The sea rolls on and on for miles, days and weeks without break and it really is, believe it or not, the most beautiful place. The character of the seas and skies are forever changing and it is easy to stand in the cockpit for hours at a time just staring, watching, soaking it all in. It is without doubt a humbling place and you realise the greatness, in every sense, of everything around you and the very, very small part you have to play in it all.'
Salvesen, like all the competitors in the Portimão Global Ocean Race, is relishing the experience. He and Dave and the rest of the sailors out there slogging their way to Cape Town are competing in the race for all the right reasons. For them it’s a voyage of discovery, both geographically and a voyage of self discovery. http://portimaorace.com/