Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

The Ocean Race: Celebrating 30 years since Steinlager 2 won all six legs of the Whitbread

by Various authors, compiled by 21 May 2020 19:49 PDT 22 May 2020
Steinlager 2 - Finish 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race - Southampton © Barry Pickthall / PPL

On May 22, 1990, Peter Blake and the crew of Steinlager 2 crossed the finish line of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, to win the sixth leg from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton.

In doing so the Farr designed ketch became the only boat in the fully crewed round the world race to win all six legs.

After the race, Mike Quilter and Glen Sowry wrote their account "Big Red".

Here's a few paragraphs covering their final run up the Solent to the finish off Southampton:

Throughout our last night at sea we had everyone sitting with their legs over the side to get every ounce of speed out of Big Red. It was working and the F & P boys could make no impact on us. The southern coast of England is notorious for its tidal gates around the main headlands which can literally stop a yacht in its tracks.

After a brief park-up off Portland Bill we picked up a new southwesterly sea breeze, enabling us to set all the reaching sails and scoot across Poole Bay to the Needles. Fishpie had dropped even further astern and with the tide about to turn in our favour for the last 20 miles we slowly began to relax in the knowledge that they couldn't catch us.

With numerous spectator boats coming out to meet us, Pidgie decided it was all becoming a bit hectic and flew off towards the shore. One of the first boats out to see us was a press boat with an incredibly excited Peter Montgomery on board. Monty was getting so worked up we were expecting to see him go into orbit any second.

But it was our supporters' boat with our wives, girlfriends and families that we all wanted to see. As we approached the Needles they appeared, jammed into a launch looking like a Vietnamese refugee boat. For our wives and girlfriends it was also the end of a long nine-month race. Many of them had given up their jobs to fly around the world to meet us at the various ports throughout the race. While we were having all the fun and glory they'd been holding down part-time jobs, mowing the lawns and paying the bills. As we set our light spinnaker and red mizzen spinnaker to a roar of approval from our support boat it slowly began to sink in that we were going to do it! This very long race was going to be our own.

There was an incredible atmosphere on board as we completed gybe after perfect gybe down the So lent. Big Red was in her element, showing off to the world's press and we were thoroughly enjoying each other's company together at sea for the last time. Blakey took the helm for the last hour to guide the boat through the hundreds of spectator craft, while the rest of us trimmed the sails and coaxed Big Red along in the dying breeze. Mike was standing on the aft deck, eyes squinted into the late-afternoon sun looking for the fairway marks to make sure we didn't suffer the ignominy of running aground up the tidal Southampton Water.

The anticipation became almost unbearable as we drifted towards the finishline only one mile ahead until an elusive puff of breeze filled our light spinnaker and whisked us over the line to the boom of a large cannon. As we threw our arms into the air in triumph, emotion took over as we shouted at the tops of our voices. No-one could take that moment away from us. We had given it our all for the past two years and now it was ours.

Entering Ocean Village, to a cacophony of fireworks, we were stunned at the crowds lining the marina to welcome us. Our faces were set in permanent ear-toear grins as hundreds of Kiwis, many of whom had been waiting for three days, cheered us into the dock. Whitbread race committee chairman, Charles Williams, presented Blakey with our sixth Beefeater Trophy and, more importantly, the magnificent Whitbread Trophy.

As the champagne corks flew and our wives and families clambered aboard to join the party we stopped to applaud Grant Dalton and the F & P crew, who had finished 36 minutes behind us. A simple handshake and a look into their eyes was all that was required. Like us, they had given this race their hearts and souls and had been formidable competitors. We were all proud to have finished the race with an emphatic Kiwi first and second. The fact that this was Dalts's first attempt as a skipper made their result especially creditable.

That evening, as we enjoyed the party being thrown at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club by Steinlager 2's three trustees, many of us slipped out onto the balcony, leaving the noise of the party behind to sneak another look at our magnificent Big Red as she lay motionless alongside the dock awash with floodlights - her job completed at last.

Related Articles

Former VOR Race Director Jack Lloyd dies at 67
New Zealand's leading sailing official, Jack Lloyd, died suddenly on Friday evening Jack Lloyd, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday evening aged 67. For almost three decades he was involved in sorting out the disputes, rules, interpretations and compliance issues for yachting's jet set as the professional side of the sport evolved. Posted on 16 Sep
Boat building industry comes together
To drive action for the planet A new survey by The Ocean Race, the world's toughest test of a team in sport, has found an overwhelming number of people working in the sailing and boat building industry want the field to become more sustainable. Posted on 14 Sep
CORUM L'Épargne set for The Ocean Race Europe
French IMOCA team will join inaugural edition of new event The CORUM L'Épargne Sailing Team, led by skipper Nicolas Troussel, has confirmed it will take part in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe this spring, with its new generation IMOCA. Posted on 11 Feb
Emily Nagel on her evolution as a pro sailor
An interview with Emily Nagel on her evolution as a professional sailor Emily Nagel might be “just” 27 years old, but this hasn't stopped her from racking up an impressive inshore and offshore sailing resume, in addition to earning her credentials as a naval architect. Posted on 10 Feb
The Ocean Race uses cutting edge science equipment
High quality oceanographic data is relayed ashore in real-time to improve models and predictions The Ocean Race, the world's toughest, fully-crewed around the world sailing race, has enthralled and inspired a global audience since 1973. Posted on 29 Oct 2020
The Ocean Race Europe set for Spring 2021
Promoting international sport, the Green Deal, and European spirit The inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe, scheduled to start late in the spring of 2021, will bring international top-flight, competitive ocean racing to up to five European cities. Posted on 12 Oct 2020
Timing of The Ocean Race start under review
Impact of Covid-19 situation on The Ocean Race 2020-2021 forces rethink on start date Co-owner of The Ocean Race, Johan Salén talks about the impact of the Covid 19 crisis on the 2021-2022 edition of the crewed round-the-world race and the advantages of ocean racing. Posted on 2 Jun 2020
The Ocean Race: Asian Stopover announced
Stopover is announced for The Ocean Race in Asia, as route takes shape The 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race will make one stop in Asia, with the city of Shenzhen proudly serving as the host city for the iconic, fully-crewed, offshore race. Posted on 17 Dec 2019
The Ocean Race: Germany confirms for both races
Top IMOCA60 sailor up for both the Vendee Globe and The Ocean Race IMOCA sailor Boris Herrmann has confirmed his registration for The Ocean Race. The German offshore sailor has registered for The Ocean Race and will participate in the race following the 2020 Vendée Globe Posted on 17 Jun 2019
Anne-Cecile Turner on The Ocean Race's green moves
An interview with Anne-Cecile Turner about The Ocean Race's latest green initiatives I checked in with Anne-Cecile Turner, The Ocean Race's Sustainability Program director, via email, to learn more about how this time-honored ocean race is working to help address microplastic pollution and other ocean-related environmental concerns. Posted on 11 Jun 2019
Zhik 2021 Black Friday FOOTERRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTERSea Sure 2021 - Transom Fittings - FOOTER