Global Ocean Race 2011-12 leg one is now underway. Following a light-airs start on Sunday afternoon, the six double-handed, Class40s are now in stable, following breeze, running down to the Straits of Gibraltar with Ross and Campbell Field on BSL at the front of the fleet.
Holding fifth place east of the main group of boats, Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs on Financial Crisis were leading the fleet momentarily: 'The early part of the race was very tiring and frustrating, playing light winds bingo,' reported Nannini on Monday morning. 'Everyone was trying to get away from the island of Mallorca and into the offshore wind, all very close to each other, but sometimes sailing completely different angles,' he explains. 'We had a lucky break at some stage and overtook first BSL, then Campagne de France and Cessna Citation, technically taking the overall lead before grinding to a halt.' Their time a the front of the fleet was short lived: 'BSL and Phesheya from the back went off to the M25 motorway and found some wind and circled us like we were stuck in a central London traffic jam.'
Meanwhile, The New Zealand duo of Ross and Campbell Field continue to make the best speed on BSL, averaging 10.7 knots in around 14 knots of north-easterly breeze with Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron just over eight miles astern with Campagne de France in the 09:00 GMT Monday position poll. 'It was a pretty light start to the race, involving quite a few sail changes,' confirms Merron. 'We were swearing at clouds - no wind, handled better by some of the competition - but now it is a rather nice Monday morning at the office, sunny, 15-18 knots of wind, under spinnaker.' Holding third place, the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire on Phesheya-Racing are just one mile off Mabire and Merron’s port beam, with Conrad Colman and Hugo Ramon on Cessna Citation trailing Campagne de France by three miles in fourth place.
While the pack of five boats are separated by under 23 miles, the Dutch duo of Nico Budel and Ruud van Rijsewijk trail the fleet leader by 40 miles in a lighter band of breeze on Sec. Hayai. Although this early deficit for the team may be a setback, it is unlikely to dim the atmosphere on board as Budel celebrates his 72nd birthday today. Happy birthday Nico! Global Ocean Race website