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McIntyre Ocean Globe dodging dreaded doldrums

by Ocean Globe Race 25 Sep 2023 12:01 PDT
McIntyre Ocean Globe Race 2023 - The Maiden crew have been impressing the wind Gods with their dancing, and it's clearly working. They've reported ‘The sun is shining, the wind is 15/20knts, A2 spinnaker flying, cassettes playing. Pure Good Vibes! © Team Maiden / OGR2023

There's never a dull moment in the McIntyre Ocean Globe race. It's just two weeks since the 14-strong fleet left Southampton for Cape Town and there's already been a dramatic helicopter rescue, diversion, weather warning, no wind, yacht speeds of 19 knots, flying fish, home sicknesses, blown spinnakers, quiche Lorraine and many, many tweets. And then there's the race itself, which has been mesmerizingly close, with clever tactics and a sprinkling of luck on display.

  • Fleet split in three with Pen Duick VI FR (14), Translated 9 IT (09), Maiden UK (03) and Spirit of Helsinki (71) neck & neck steaming ahead. Middle pack catching up fast. Explorer AU (28) and Godspeed USA (01) trail behind.
  • Triana FR (66) reports engine trouble. Godspeed leaves Cascais after three days' stop.
  • Sixty school kids from Kleppestø Barneskole School, Norway, grill Don McIntyre on Facebook Live about everything OGR and adventure - including why Godspeed keeps going the wrong way! A popular new weekly feature for schools around the world.
  • The 120-page McIntyre Ocean Globe Program now available as FLIP BOOK online.
  • Cape Town getting ready to welcome locals home!

Maire Tabarly and her crew, on the heaviest yacht 73ft Pen Duick VI, are steaming ahead. And luck looks like its on their side as a narrow band of breeze has broken up the doldrum belt - giving them a wind bridge and passage towards the South Easterly trade winds. This could well and truly cement their dominance.

Maiden, 58ft and lighter, is racing just as hard and dueling with the Italian boat, Translated 9, the Swan 65 formerly ADC Accutrac from the 1977 Whitbread. Translated 9 has surprised many. Currently sitting first overall in IRC ranking, the tracker might be showing 4th in line honours, but it's too close to call.

Finnish entrant, Spirit of Helsinki, a Swan 651, the most westerly boat in the fleet is leading Sayula class by a massive margin, despite missing two of their spinnakers due to a delayed delivery in Southampton. They might well get caught by the dreaded doldrums over the coming days, giving the middle pack a chance to catch up.

Leading that middle pack are two French rivals Neptune FR (56) and former Whitbread winner L'Esprit d'équipe FR (85). Followed closely behind by the Australian's Outlaw AU (08), Triana FR (66), leading Adventure Class, and Galiana WithSecure (06) - whose speeds remain high despite having to repair 'a cow-sized hole' in a spinnaker. It is clear the young Finns are driving hard!

French entrant Triana is having a tough start to the race. Last week crew member Stéphane Raguenes was rescued after a dramatic long-range helicopter mission and flown 225 miles to Madeira for medical attention. Stéphane is now home and recovering well. Skipper of Triana, Jean d'Arthuys has since reported their engine, which had previously been causing issues, is now officially DEAD! and they're now only using solar panels for charging. OGR have advised to prioritize the charging of their Iridium phone and handheld VHF radio and ensure their YB3 back up sat texting and tracking unit is always charged. They'll no longer be able to send photos or videos.

Bringing up the rear are, White Shadow ESP (17), Sterna SA (42) and Explorer AU (28).

Meanwhile, the Skeleton crew onboard the yacht Godspeed US (01) are ecstatic to be back racing after diverting to Portugal to fix a six-inch crack in their boom.

"The community pulled through with contacts in Cascais and set us up with a welder the moment we docked. The boom snapping in half only lit a fire under our ass to get Godspeed going and sail even harder, don't count us out just yet. The advantage of having a boat full of pissed-off marines is they don't sleep or eat until the job's done. Rest assured we're going to finish this race." said skipper Taylor. They may be over 1700 nm behind Pen Duick VI, but only 600 behind Explorer!

Tweets and the weekly satellite safety check calls continue to provide an insight into life onboard for the 144 sailors on board the 14 yachts.

Skipper of Spanish entrants White Shadow ESP (17) explained, during his weekly call HERE, how important supporting each other is, especially with crew sometimes feeling homesick.

"The crew is very solid and everyone is taking care of everyone. Each week we have a weekly celebration. We open a bottle of wine and celebrate the week that ended, we see what went wrong and what went well, drink half a glass of wine and go back to the race." says Jean-Christophe Petit.

White Shadow were also the first boat to send the mandatory once a fortnight HF radio "situation report' by code required under the Notice of Race. This is transmitted to passing vessels or land stations and passed onto the OGR office in France. It read 17Z0630D1809N3812W01418C205B10S10 - when deciphered -

Race number:17, Time: Z06 30, Date: 18th September, Latitude: 38 degrees 12'N

Longitude: 014 degrees 18'W, Course: 205 T, Condition of boat and skipper.

In White Shadow's case it's a 10/10!

Maiden, who have been victims of flying fish attacks, passed their message back to OGR headquarters thanks to Nano Antia, skipper of the 70-foot Clipper Race yacht, one of 11 sailing to Punta del Este.

"Hello, this is CV26 Yacht Club Punta del Este sailing vessel on the Clipper Round the World Race. I just had a conversation with Maiden, a sailing vessel by VHF and was asked to provide you with the below code. Also, the skipper wants us to let you know that all crew are doing well. We are still in VHF range and would be happy to relay any information."

CODE from MAIDEN sailing vessel
CODE: 03z0605d2409n1335w2409c195b9s9

Skipper of Finnish boat, Tapio Lehtinen, Galiana WithSecure explained during a SoundCloud call HERE, that some of their recent success might well be down to their tidy yacht, explaining they've a note on their heated drying room wall which reads "a place for everything and everything in its place." The stunning Swan 55 may be the oldest yacht in the race, but it's certainly still the most beautiful. He also admits that some of the younger crew might already be a little bored of his stories of his Whitbread days onboard Skopbank of Finland (81/82), which is a shame, seeing they've another 7 months to onboard together.

Meanwhile, patience is something Neptune crew member Bertrand Delhom, a Parkinson's sufferer, who is sailing with the aim of spreading inspiration to those affected by Parkinsons is well versed in. He explained during the team's weekly satellite call HERE that the next biggest challenge ahead for the team is the doldrums! He has experience in being patient, due to long days spent in the hospital. His determination and spirit is proving inspirational to everyone.

The OGR might well have its roots in history by celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Whitbread Round The World Race, but it's also inspiring a new generation of much younger sailors. Sixty school children from Kleppestø Barneskole School, Norway took part in the OGR first Facebook Q&A session, which is to become a regular weekly school feature.

There were a wide range of questions from the enthusiastic 11-year-olds who've been following the race from the start, including how to use a sextant, how the yachts are tracked and Don McIntyre's favourite entrant! Schools interested in participating can email .

The Official glossy 112-page Ocean Globe Race book is now available on the OGR website as a 'Flick page book" HERE featuring everything you ever wanted to know about the Whitbread Round the World races, the OGR, race entrants, facts and figures. Barry Pickthall, OGR Ambassador, AKA 'Mr Whitbread', the former yachting correspondent for The Times newspaper who covered every Whitbread provides in-depth features in the Program. The Whitbread history since 1973 and its most notable sailors, including Éric Tabarly, Sir Peter Blake and Conny Van Rietschoten are featured. There're profiles of all the current OGR entrants, a guide to celestial navigation and even Don McIntyre's story!

With just weeks until the first yachts reach Cape Town, manager of South African yacht Sterna SA (42) Michelle Kock says the city will be a fantastic first stop over. Cape Town has a long history with the Whitbread race from day one, featuring six times as a stopover.

"There's a large sailing community in Cape Town with multiple yacht clubs, but most are focused on cruising and local sail racing, never daring to dream of such a big adventure as racing around the world. With that said, Kirsten Neuschäfer and Jeremy Bagshaw's recent participation in the Golden Globe Race was inspirational for many. Kirsten's win grabbed the public's attention, and as a result, more people are showing an interest in following sail racing as a sport. I hope Sterna and her crew can also inspire local sailors to dream big, seeking adventures that take them to more remote parts of the world and oceans." says Michelle.

There are five South Africans on the race including Skipper Rufus Brand, first mate Melissa Du Toit and owner Gerrit Louw onboard Sterna / AllSpice Yachting. Vuyisile Jaca sailing on Maiden and Cameron Schmidt (23) sailing onboard Explorer. He was recruited from a number of applicants as part of the McIntyre Adventure Sponsored Youth Opportunity Scheme.

During the next week the majority of the fleet will engage the doldrums. Pen Duicks VI reports squalls of 49 knots. Fun and games to come.

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