Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) leg one from Palma to Cape Town has drawn to a conclusion with the final Class40 duo crossing the finish line today, Monday 7th November.
Following a fast Sunday night with under 80 miles to the leg one finish line off the main harbour breakwater in Cape Town, the Dutch duo of Nico Budel and Ruud van Rijsewijk on Sec. Hayai ran into zero breeze shortly before dawn. As the sun rose at 06:00 local time, Budel and Van Rijsewijk were ten miles off Cape Town in flat calm, drifting on the northerly current with Table Mountain and Robben Island visible through the low-level fog. With a long following swell, the mainsail slatted constantly and brief cells of breeze filled the Class40’s A6 spinnaker sporadically.
Further inshore, below Signal Hill, some light breeze was eventually found, the A6 was dropped, the Solent unfurled and with an orange smoke flare burning at the bow, Budel and Van Rijsewijk crossed the finish line at 10:38:30 GMT after 42 days, 22 hours, 38 minutes and 30 seconds, taking sixth place in the first stage of the nine-month, 33,000-mile circumnavigation.
Sec. Hayai completed the 7,900-mile course just under 21 hours behind the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire in fifth with Phesheya-Racing. Ruud van Rijsewijk is delighted with this result: 'We made it and I think we did it really well,' said the 56 year-old Dutchman as he lit a large cigar delivered to Sec. Hayai by the GOR Race Organisation immediately the Class40 crossed the finish line. 'There are three important things that made the trip so special,' he continued. 'A good diet is the first thing; being at sea is the second and being together with Nico is the third. It’s been a tremendous trip.' For Budel, who has spent a lifetime racing single-handed, having company on board was a pleasurable novelty: 'There was no moment we regretted in the whole leg,' he reports. 'In the whole 42 days we didn’t have a bad word, until 30 minutes before the finish line!' continues the 72 year-old.
The two yachtsmen clearly complement each other at sea: 'We’re two different people who have two different ways of sailing,' explains Van Rijsewijk. 'It’s all in the game. Nico is old school and I’m new school and sometimes he will want to do it one way and I’ll do it another.' The result was evident at watch changes. 'Nico will sheet the sails in, I’ll come out on deck and ease them out and the balance seemed to work really well.' However, problems arrived on Sec. Hayai early in the race with the loss of their big, masthead spinnaker shortly after the start of leg one before the GOR fleet exited the Mediterranean: 'The new A6 spinnaker latest only six minutes in about 21 knots of breeze and it just blew apart when we should be able to carry it until 35 knots,' says Budel. 'It’s the strongest sail that we have.' With the sail beyond repair, Budel contacted a fellow Class40 sailor. 'We called my Belgian friend, Michel Kleinjans, and my son picked his A6 up, shipped it to the Canary Islands and my daughter flew to Las Palmas, chartered a RIB and rendezvoused with us off Gran Canaria with Michel’s sail,' says Budel.
The GOR Race Committee applied a time penalty for the new sail, but the benefits were significant. 'We used the new sail a lot,' confirms Van Rijsewijk. 'Especially in the Doldrums to catch up when there was absolutely no wind, but also above its usual range as we had to do something to make up ground on the other boats,' he continues. 'So we’re really glad we had it.' Other than the sail damage, the duo’s three year-old, first generation Akilaria Class40 is in excellent condition. 'We broke a few ropes, but that’s really all,' says the Dutchman. 'We have a few blue bruises, but nothing serious,' he adds, despite four and-a-half mast climbs to constantly retighten the weather wand mounting. 'I climbed four times and then I put Nico up there, but the sea state was terrible and he got halfway and hung-on, looking around like a sparrow at what was going on below!'
For the Dutch duo, the highlight of leg one happened on a daily basis: 'Happy Hour at five o’clock each day!' laughs Budel, waving his celebration bottle of champagne on the race pontoons. 'Every day at five we would have a cigar and Ruud would have a small glass of whisky and I’d have a brandy – it was heaven.' Despite this small luxury, the on board catering didn’t all run smoothly. 'We ran out of food four days ago,' admits Van Rijsewijk. 'So we’ve been living on pickles since then and that’s not ideal!'
Budel and Van Rijsewijk and the five other GOR Class40 teams now have 20 days to prepare for leg two from Cape Town to Wellington, New Zealand, starting off Cape Town on Sunday 27 November. Global Ocean Race 2011-12 leg one (Palma - Cape Town) results:
1. BSL: Ross and Campbell Field (NZL). Tyker 40 Class40. Launched 2008. 32d 17h 13m 25s. Finish: 05:13:25 GMT 28/10/11. Distance: 7,300 miles. Average speed 9.3kts
2. Campagne de France: Halvard Mabire/Miranda Merron (FRA/GBR). Pogo 40S² Class40. Launched 2011. 33d 07h 43m 40s (BSL + 14h 30m 15s). Finish 19:43:40 GMT 28/10/11. Distance: 7,159 miles. Average speed 8.96kts
3. Financial Crisis: Marco Nannini/Paul Peggs (ITA/GBR). First Generation Akilaria Class40. Launched 2008. 40d 20h 37m 20s (BSL + 8d 03h 23m 55s). Finish 08:37:20 GMT 05/11/2011. Distance: 7,876 miles. Average speed 8.03 kts
4. Cessna Citation: Conrad Colman and Hugo Ramon (NZL/SPA). Akilaria RC2 Class40. Launched 2011. 40d 23h 26m 15s (BSL + 8d 06h 12m 50s). Finish 11:26:15 GMT 05/11/2011. Distance 8,191 miles. Average speed 8.33 kts
5. Phesheya-Racing: Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire (RSA/RSA). First generation Akilaria Class40. Launched 2007. 42d 0h 45m 10s (BSL + 9d 08h 31m 45s). Finish 13:45:10 GMT 06/11/2011. Distance 8,120 miles. Average speed 8.04kts
6. Sec. Hayai: Nico Budel/Ruud van Rijsewijk (NDL/NDL). First generation Akilaria Class40. Launched 2008. 42d 22h 38m 30s (BSL + 10d 5h 25m 05s). Finish 10:38:30 GMT 07/11/2011. Distance 7,962 miles. Average speed 7.73kts Global Ocean Race points at the end of leg one:
1. BSL has scored a total of 35 points in GOR leg one (5 points for crossing the Fastnet Marine Insurance Scoring Gate in second place + 30 points for first place in leg one).
2. Campagne de France has scored a total of 31 points in GOR leg one (6 points for crossing the Fastnet Marine Insurance Scoring Gate in first place + 25 points for finishing leg one in second place)
3. Financial Crisis has scored a total of 23 points in GOR leg one (3 points for crossing the Fastnet Marine Insurance Scoring Gate in fourth place + 20 points for finishing leg one in third place)
4. Cessna Citation has scored a total of 19 points in GOR leg one (4 points for crossing the Fastnet Marine Insurance Scoring Gate in third place + 15 points for finishing leg one in fourth place)
5. Phesheya-Racing has scored a total of 12 points in GOR leg one (2 points for crossing the Fastnet Marine Insurance Gate in fifth place + 10 points for finishing leg one in fifth place)
6. Sec. Hayai has scored a total of 6 points in GOR leg one (1 point for crossing the Fastnet Marine Insurance Scoring Gate in sixth place + 5 points for finishing leg one in sixth place) Global Ocean Race website