Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Globe40 Race Leg 1 Day 2: Rudder-munching Killer Whales

by Andy Rice 27 Jun 12:55 PDT 26 June 2022
The Globe40 Race yacht Milai is attacked Orcas © Milai

While the soon-after-the-start collision between the French and Canadian boats highlighted the hazards and obstacles above the surface, other competitors in the Globe40 Race would have been more mindful of the enemy below.

The Globe40 is a 30,000 mile, multi-stop doublehanded race around the world in Class 40 keelboats. Leg 1 from Tangier to Cape Verde should be straightforward, fast and pleasant downwind sailing conditions. However, as the Dutch team discovered on the prologue race from Lorient in France to Morocco a week earlier, fishing nets are a real hazard round these parts.

For the Japanese boat it was much worse. The crew of Milai were attacked by a group of playground bullies barring the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. A mob (not a pod) of orca killer whales decided to play a game of 'snap the rudder' with the starboard rudder of the Japanese Class 40. Owner Koji Nakagawa had already noticed the fins of the orcas trailing the stern before the attack began. "We have a camera to watch what's going on underwater," said Nakagawa. "And we could see that orca A would come up and smack the rudder, then orca B, then orca C, and so on. To them it was a game, but to us it was quite scary."

With the Class 40 rule only permitting glass-fibre construction, the orca assault eventually succeeded as the pod of attackers broke the rudder clean in two. 1-0 to the Orca of Gibraltar.

Race director of the Globe40, Christophe Gaumond, said the orcas were an ever-present menace near the Strait of Gibraltar at this time of year. "It's migration season for tuna entering the Mediterranean," said Gaumond, a veteran of multiple Olympic Regattas and Vendée Globes. "So the orca are a threat and the tuna nets are another hazard in this area. There is a lot of commercial traffic going up and down the Atlantic too, so there are many hazards to watch out for on this first leg."

As for the orca damage, co-skipper Masa Suzuki thanks the wicked whales for forcing a replacement rudder to be fitted. "We had never replaced a rudder before," he said, "so now I have been below the boat and we now know how to do that job if we have to do it again. So the orca did us a favour," he laughed.

It seems like the Japanese have avoided the orca coming back for seconds, however. As of 1500 hours (Tangier time) on Monday afternoon, Nakagawa and Suzuki hold a 7 mile lead over the fleet as they surge towards the first waypoint of Madeira. As yet the broken bowsprit of French entry, The Globe en Solidaire, means the boat has yet to depart Tangier.

To follow the race, and to find out more about what the Globe40 is all about, go to www.globe40.com

Related Articles

GS2: Approaching Cape of Good Hope
Big news here on GS2 from the high seas Big news here on GS2 from the high seas is that we passed the halfway point on this epic Leg 2 of the Globe40 a few days ago, which means we have sailed more than 4,000 miles from the Cape Verde Islands over the last 3 weeks Posted on 9 Aug
The halfway point in the Globe40's longest leg
3,600 miles since setting sail - 3,500 miles left to go Today, the front runners in the GLOBE40 round the world yacht race reached the halfway point in this second leg having covered 3,600 miles since setting sail from Cape Verde on Sunday 17 July. Posted on 3 Aug
GryphonSolo2: Slogging in the South Atlantic
An update from a Globe40 Race competitor who has beanbag problems We are slogging our way southward in a fresh South'Easter. The wind is highly variable in both direction and strength, so we are doing our best to stay on course and go fast. Posted on 30 Jul
GryphonSolo2: Past the Doldrums / equator passing
One week into Globe40 leg which started from Sao Vicente As I write we are only 93 mile from the equator - about to pass from the North Atlantic to the South Atlantic. Eating peanut butter on crackers as well, which is not helping the keyboard! Posted on 26 Jul
GryphonSolo2 Globe40 Leg 2 start
A quick "best of" list of things we enjoyed over the two-week layover On Sunday we started Leg 2 of the Globe 40 from Cabo Verde to Mauritius. But before I dive into that, I'd like to provide a quick "best of" list of things we enjoyed over the two-week layover in Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente. Posted on 19 Jul
Destination Southern Hemisphere for the Globe40
Leg 2 starts from Mindelo Bay on the island of Sao Vincente in the Cape Verde archipelago The start of the second leg of the GLOBE40 got under way today at 15:00 hours local time in Mindelo Bay on the island of Sao Vincente in the Cape Verde archipelago. Posted on 17 Jul
GryphonSolo2: Wrap of Globe40 Leg 1
Prepping for Leg 2 in Mindelo, Cabo Verde Islands Sorry it has been a while since my last post. We finished Leg 1 from Lorient, France to Mindelo, Cabo Verde Islands. Posted on 8 Jul
Express victory for Milai in Leg 1 of The Globe40
The Japanese crew of Masa Suzuki and Koji Nakagawa cover 1884 miles in 7 days Making the finish this Sunday in the marvellous Mindelo Bay at 15.25 hours local time, the Japanese crew of Masa Suzuki and Koji Nakagawa covered 1884 miles in 7 days 2 hours and 25 minutes at an average speed of 11.06 knots. Posted on 3 Jul
GryphonSolo2: Threading the needle
Coming to you live from the Canary Islands I am coming to you live from the Canary Islands, just off the European coast, where we will soon be attempting to thread the needle through a very narrow passage between the islands of Tenerife and Canarias. Posted on 30 Jun
GryphonSolo2: Globe40 Leg 1 start
The race course requires the fleet to leave the island of Madeira to port After a very long trip to the starting line, Team GS2 has taken the start of Leg 1 of the Globe 40 from Tangier, Morocco to Sao Vicente, Cape Verde Islands. Posted on 27 Jun
Lloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px3 BOTTOMSelden 2020 - FOOTERSea Sure 2021 - RED - FOOTER