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Festival of Sails 2024 LEADERBOARD

Ocean Globe Race report, Global Solo Challenge update, national racing news

by David Schmidt 10 Oct 10:00 PDT October 10, 2023
2023 McIntyre Ocean Globe Race - Beating upwind is proving challenging for all the crews – but at least they feel they're moving. Translated 9 continues their battle with Pen Duick VI for the No1 spot in IRC rating © Luca Butto / Translated 9

As temperatures continue to cool off in North America and Europe, the onshore world finds itself mirroring, albeit in a much slower and geographically fixed way, the temperatures that are being experienced by the sailors who are contesting the fully-crewed Ocean Globe Race as they plunge south. This is because the leaders of this retro race, which employs yachts that were constructed prior to 1988 and which forbids the use of electronics, are now roughly on the same latitude as Cape Town, South Africa, which marks the race's first stop.

Skipper Marie Tabarly and her Pen Duick VI team, which is competing in the race's Flyer Class, continue to drive the leaderboard, followed by Jussi Paavoseppä's Spirit of Helsinki, which is competing in the race's Sayula Class. Marco Trombetti and Vittorio Malingri's Translated 9, which is also competing in the Flyer class, is currently in third place on the leaderboard.

As of this writing, Pen Duick VI is roughly 240 nautical miles ahead of her nearest rival and was charging along at 7.2 knots.

While the leaders continue to make good progress, albeit at speeds more reminiscent of the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race, which this event is trying to emulate, rather than at the rapid-fire and semi-foiling pace of modern IMOCA 60s or even the older (and fully displacement-mode) Volvo Ocean 65s, boats farther astern report a dearth of good breeze.

"Our strategy at the moment is to forget trimming the sails, just point the boat 195 degrees magnetic, see where the sails go and trim them then," reported Mark Sinclair, skipper of the Explorer team, which is competing in the Sayula Class. As of this writing, Explorer was one of the northernmost boats. "ETA Cape Town based on the amount of food still in the freezer, approximately Christmas."

Godspeed, the American-flagged boat that is currently second from the back of the pack and which is competing in the race's Adventure Class, has been trying to (literally) inject some fun into a slow situation. As of this writing, the team, which is comprised of military veterans and which refers to themselves the Skeleton Crew, were making 3.9 knots.

"We feel like we're getting into the groove with the boat," wrote the crew in an email that was reported on the event's webpage. "We broke out the tattoo gun to get some tattoos at sea. We did the classic swallow you get at 5000 nm but put a little Skeleton Crew spin on it. And we're making a comeback - the greatest sailing comeback of our generation."

It remains to be seen how strong this comeback will look, given that they are roughly 1,500 miles astern of Jean d'Arthuys's Triana, which is currently leading the race's Adventure Class, but we certainly have our fingers crossed for skipper Taylor Grieger and his Godspeed crew.

Jumping gears but staying offshore, singlehanded skipper Dafydd Hughes, who is sailing alone aboard Bendigedig, his 1971 S&S 34, is in the pole position in the Global Solo Challenge, which is a singlehanded nonstop-around-the-world pursuit-style race that saw the tortoises start before the hares.

As of this writing, Hughes is due west of Cape Town, South Africa, and is roughly 3,250 nautical miles ahead of skipper Édouard De Keyser, who is sailing alone aboard SolarWind, his Solaire 34.

Hughes, it should be noted, began sailing on August 26, while De Keyser began his journey on September 17. The next batch of skippers are expected to begin racing on October 21.

A week later, on October 28, a tranche of nine skippers are being released onto the world's oceans. This includes David Linger of Seattle, Washington; Cole Brauer, of Boothbay, Maine; Peter Bourke, of Newport, Rhode Island, and Ronnie Simpson, of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sail-World wishes all of these retro-sailing teams and singlehanded sailors competing in the Ocean Globe Race and the Global Solo Challenge safe passage as they ply the world's oceans.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Steve Liebel's New Wave team won top honors at the IC37 North Americans, which unfurled last weekend on the waters off of Newport, Rhode Island, and which was hosted by the New York Yacht Club. New Wave was joined on the winner's podium by the Member's Only team, led by Hannah Swett and Ben Kinney, and by Peter Wagner's Skeleton Key.

"It [was] very challenging today," said Liebel, in an official event release, about his win. "There [were] a lot of great teams. I have a great crew, and we've been very fortunate all year to have on almost the same crew through all five events."

Slightly to the south, the J/105 North Americans also unfurled last weekend on the waters of Long Island Sound, off of Rye, New York. After seven races, Randy Hecht's Niuhi team - which included Maggie Bacon, Spencer Cole, Ethan Doyle, Russ Silvestri and Juliana Testa - took top honors, despite racking up an unsightly 15th place finish in the regatta's first race. Fortunately for the Niuhi squad, the team followed this up with four bullets, two second-places finishes, and a single fourth to finish the regatta with 27 points.

This win marks Niuhi's second consecutive North American title.

A total of 31 J/105s competed in this regatta, and, in addition to Hecht's Niuhi squad, included other bi-coastal teams.

To the west, on the waters of Wisconsin's Lake Geneva, Brian Porter and his Full Throttle team, which consisted of Bri Porter, RJ Porter and Matt Woodworth, took top honors at the Melges 24 Nationals. Impressively, this is Porter's tenth Melges 24 national title, and his third consecutive national-level win. The Full Throttle crew beat out Bora Gulari's Knocky Knocky crew and Eddie Cox's Zenda Express to take home the regatta's nicest trophy.

"It is just so cool to have won for a tenth time," said Porter in an official event communication. "This feels good. It was such tough sailing today. I know the Race Committee was having a tough time too, but given the conditions they did an amazing job."

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt North American Editor

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