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Historic scenes at start of Leg 2 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race

by Ocean Globe Race 6 Nov 2023 02:47 PST 6 November 2023
Perfect start in Cape Town. Sun, breeze and Table Mountain - 2023 Ocean Globe Race Leg 2 © OGR2023 / Jacqueline Kavanagh

Sailing history was made in Cape Town under the stunning vista of Table Mountain as the iconic yachts starting Leg 2 in the OGR set sail for Auckland. South African Naval Vessel SAS King Sekhukhune 1, the official start vessel and French Navy Frigate Floréal towered over the 11 yachts as they passed the line in Table Bay at 14:00 local time in the hot Capetonian sun.

  • Phenomenal scenes in Table Bay, Cape Town at the start of Leg 2 McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. Translated 9 IT (09) first across the line, followed closely by Pen Duick VI FR (14) and Galiana WithSecure FI (06).
  • South African Naval Vessel SAS King Sekhukhune 1 and French Navy Frigate Floréal signal start of race.
  • Eleven OGR yachts set sail for Auckland in perfect south westerly 10 knot winds. Three yachts to start in the coming days.
  • South African Golden Globe Race winner Kirsten Neuschäfer official starter onboard the South African naval ship. Fellow countryman Jeremy Bagshaw on board the Navy Frigate Floréal accompanied by Sophie Bel, Consul General of France in Cape Town.
  • South African entrants Sterna SA (42) / All Spice Yachting to depart Monday.
  • Smiles onboard Explorer AU (28) arriving into Cape Town after 55 days at sea.

Golden Globe Race winner Kirsten Neuschäfer watched the start from the South African naval vessel. "The start went really smoothly, beautiful weather and everyone seemed in a good mood. I was slightly nostalgic about heading back offshore, but my time will come again," said Kirsten.

A fellow Golden Globe competitor Jeremy Bagshaw and Sophie Bel, Consul General of France in Cape Town were on board the Navy Frigate Floréal. With five French yachts amongst the fleet, Pen Duick VI FR (14), L'Esprit d'équipe FR (85), Evrika FR (07), Neptune FR (56), and Triana FR (66), there was no denying who they were cheering on.

"It was a magnificent start. The conditions were absolutely perfect. Someone commented that one of the French boats came the closest to ramming into the French ship. Which wouldn't have been an international incident, but merely a domestic affair," joked Jeremy.

The OGR, a retro race in the spirit of the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race, means no computers, no GPS, and no high-tech materials. Sextants and paper charts will guide those about to take on the Southern Ocean. Seven of the fleet are former Whitbread competitors, tradition and history runs deep in the OGR.

Don McIntyre, OGR Founder was delighted at how smoothly the race started.

"Wow! What a start. We could not have asked for more. Adventurers sailing on classic yachts, with Table Mountain in the background, on a perfect day. The Whitbread was here 50 years ago and we're reliving those memories today in the best possible way. Cape Town has been amazing. I wish all our sailors safe passage to New Zealand and good luck! Enjoy the ride" - Don McIntyre, Race Founder and Sponsor.

Three yachts didn't make the start line. The South African entrant Sterna SA (42) will start Monday, once rigging work is completed. Explorer AU (28) only arrived the day before race start, after 55 days at sea and sadly Godspeed USA (01) are still over 400 miles from Cape Town.

Race morning started early with the crew bidding farewell to family and friends and all forms of modern technology. The retro nature of the race demands phones, computers and even Kindles are surrendered until they reach Auckland. They truly are sailing in the spirit of the 1973 Whitbread race, in every sense of the word.

At 11:00 local time the yachts departed the V&A Waterfront marina at three-minute intervals. Line honours winner of Leg 1 Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) was the first to leave, followed by Pen Duick VI (14), IRC winner of Leg 1 Translated 9 IT (09), Maiden UK (03), L'Esprit d'équipe, Outlaw AU (08), Neptune FR (56), Triana FR (66), White Shadow ESP (17), Galiana WithSecure FI (06) and finally Evrika FR (07).

At 14:00 local time, the two naval vessels signalled the race start and the yachts set sail on the 7,250 miles to Auckland. With Table Mountain providing a stunning backdrop, the 11 yachts provided a breathtaking spectacle for the many spectator boats on the water. The sun shone, a perfect 10 knots of south westerly breeze blew, the crews could not ask for more.

There was the normal jockeying for the best position on the perfectly set start line, square to the wind, meaning there was no perceptible bias on either end of the line. All the boats started on starboard tack with Pen Duick VI, skippered by Marie Tabarly, slightly ahead and to leeward of Translated 9. Marie tried to protect her position on the line by forcing Translated 9 to incur a penalty for being on the course side of the start line at the gun. Translated 9 managed the encounter well and at the gun was able to harden up and cross the line first with Pen Duick VI a few metres to leeward, crossing second.

And while everyone looked happy on the water, there was no denying there was some anxiety on the pontoons from the crews before departure. Many of the sailors consider Leg 2 the most daunting of their round-the-world adventure, as it takes in the mighty Southern Ocean.

Turkish crew member of Translated 9 Deniz Derin Binaroglu admitted it was going to prove challenging.

"It's going to be cold, wet and exhilarating. It's not a place for man, it's a place for animals and birds. I'm a little nervous, yes," admitted Deniz.

Fellow Translated 9 crew mate Baptiste Gillot Devillers had some butterflies but combined with excitement.

"I really want to discover this part of the sea and world - nobody I know has gone there. We have some people on board who have explained how it's going to be and it makes the desire to go there grow a lot. Now that we are nearly ready to go the excitement is building but it is also a little bit scary. My family is probably more scared than I am at the moment." - Baptiste Gillot Devillers, Translated 9.

Guillaume Penot of White Shadow was another who was feeling a little bit uncertain about what's ahead.

"I've never been to the South Ocean before so I'm a little uncertain, afraid of the conditions we might have but we will see. The wind and waves, wow, they will be big. But the crew are ready, nine out of 12 have sailed down together so we work well. But none of us has ever been in the Southern Ocean before." - Guillaume Penot, White Shadow

But there were some on the pontoons who, thanks to their experience, know exactly what they face. Among them is Triana's first mate Sébastien Audigane who will be heading into the Southern Ocean for the seventh time.

"In the Southern Ocean you need to be a good sailor. You need to anticipate the weather because the wind is often very strong and the depression systems pass by very quickly. You have to have a keen eye weather-wise. And then equally, as it's very cold you need to pay attention to being well dressed, you need to eat well and just be a good sailor really. I think it's the most dangerous because the depressions pass by really quickly and the sea changes angle several times a day, which means you can have crossing seas which make it difficult to make the boat progress forwards. But I am not nervous, I like the Southern Ocean. I speak to the albatross." - Sébastien Audigane, Triana.

There was also some essential last-minute styling taking place on the pontoons to ensure everyone was Southern Ocean hair-ready.

And as the 11 yachts sailed south, three still remained to cross the line. South African yacht Sterna / All Spice yachting will depart on Monday after completing necessary maintenance. Explorer will follow later in the week and fingers and toes are all crossed for Godspeed USA (01) still with 400 miles to go to Cape Town.

By Sunday evening, just hours after race start, Leg 1 history had started to repeat itself. There were clear leaders Pen Duick VI, Translated 9, Maiden, Spirit of Helsinki and L'Esprit d'équipe. The rest of the fleet bunched in a pack tailing, but not as slow as the unfortunate yachts, White Shadow, Neptune, Evrika and Triana stuck in the shadow of Table Mountain.

It's back to watching the tracker time!!

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