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One out, two down, 11 racing the McIntyre Ocean Globe

by Ocean Globe Race 18 Nov 01:51 PST
Alex from Galiana WithSecure well and truly getting in touch with the Southern Ocean © OGR2023 / Galiana WithSecure

Big highs and low lows for Ocean Globe sailors. Southern Ocean Leg 2 rewards and punishes

  • Living the Southern Ocean dream in fantastic sailing conditions for 11 OGR yachts.
  • Godspeed USA (01) withdraws from OGR.
  • Sterna SA (42) hauled out in Mossel Bay, SA, for work on rudder. Will leave over weekend.
  • Explorer AU (28) returns to Cape Town after losing head sail and damaging rigging.
  • OGR Media figures revealed. Global PR value reached €142 million in the first 3 months!!

There are winners and losers in every game - and never more so in the Ocean Globe Race. The 11 yachts that slipped lines in Cape Town on November 5th and who are now surfing down the 5-metre waves towards Auckland are living the Southern Ocean dream with near-perfect conditions for racing. Three yachts have been less fortunate. Racing around the world like it's 1973 was never going to be easy, but that's why these adventurers play.

The iconic French 73ft Bermudian ketch, Pen Duick VI FR (14) skippered by Marie Tablarly is leading the dominating pack. Averaging speeds of 10 knots, Marie is proving her assertion that Leg 1 was just a trail run and the real fun begins in the Southern Ocean. It's the kind of big seas Pen Duick VI was built for.

The Italian Translated 9 IT (09) who took first in IRC ranking in Leg 1 briefly led again in IRC earlier in week, but Pen Duick VI snatched the lead back, but only by a cat's whisker. At the time of writing, there was just a couple of hours between them - both yachts sailed into Auckland during the 1977 Whitbread race, Translated 9 known then as ADC Accutrac. It's mesmerisingly close, and with average speeds of nine and then knots, it wouldn't be too long before we'll see who makes it back to the city of sails first. Currently Pen Duick VI is 1st overall, 1st IRC and 1st in Flyer Class.

Maiden UK (03) and Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) continue to push equally as hard. Maiden, a yacht built for surfing and line honours back in the day rather than handicap performance, is currently sitting in 3rd in line honours. Spirit of Helsinki who took line honours in Leg 1, sitting 4th - although there's a stark difference between the reports coming off both yachts.

Maiden tweeted "We are struggling to pressurise the heating. This means that there is little relief from the cold and humidity".

Meanwhile, Jussi Paavoseppä skipper of Spirit of Helsinki admitted he was two minutes late for his weekly satellite call as he was having a warm shower.

"We have two heaters onboard. One on all the time so we can have dry our clothes. It's nice to wear them while going on watch when they are still warm." - Jussi Paavoseppa, skipper - Spirit Of Helsinki.

Former Whitbread winner L'Esprit d'équipe FR (85) leads the remainder of the pack, just. With Galiana WithSecure FI (17), Evrika FR (07), Outlaw AU (08) and Triana FR (66) forming a wall of iconic yachts across the ocean. Neptune FR (56), who also sailed into Auckland in 1977 has made impressive progress after being forced to return to Port Elizabeth two days after race start to investigate steering issues. They had to come alongside to steady the boat for inspections and work, but accepted no outside assistance and remained in the race.

The crew of the 57 ft Swan White Shadow ESP (17), none of whom have previously sailed the Southern Ocean, are loving every minute of their experience, so far.

"This place is just amazing. None of us can refrain from saying it day and night. Everyone is having such pleasure navigating here. You almost have a feeling of exclusivity because you know it takes a lot of effort to get here, not only to participate in the OGR but you have to cross a lot of oceans to get here. It's a long trip, but really, really perfect." - Jean-Christophe Petit, skipper - White Shadow

But things have not gone so well for everyone. The Skeleton Crew sailing onboard Godspeed USA (01) have made the announcement to withdraw from the OGR. The popular crew sailing with a mission to provide adventure therapy to military service members and veterans through sailing expeditions won many fans thanks to their eclectic style, honesty and determination.

"As many of you are aware, our participation in this race was driven by a deep passion for adventure, a commitment to pushing boundaries, and the unwavering support of our dedicated followers and sponsors. Your belief in our mission and your generous support have been the wind in our sails, propelling us toward the realisation of a shared dream. However, in the face of unexpected challenges, including a set back in our timeline with the cracked boom and crew changes in Cape Town, we find it necessary to prioritise the safety of our crew and the integrity of our vessel. We understand that this news may come as a disappointment to our followers, supporters, and sponsors, and for that, we extend our sincere apologies. Your support means the world to us, and we want to assure you that this decision was not made lightly. We are determined to emerge from this experience stronger, more resilient, and with a renewed commitment to the values that bind us together." Taylor Grieger, skipper - Godspeed.

It's been a tough journey not just for the crew but for all those who have supported them.

"As the liaison between OGR and Skeleton Crew Adventures, and being Taylor's wife, it's been a unique role filled with its own set of support system challenges. On the home front, I've navigated international flights with two toddlers solo, shouldered the responsibilities of a single mom while Taylor sailed the seas, and found strength in these moments. Professionally, this role has been transformative. From stepping out of the shadows as 'just Taylor's wife' to carving out my name, I've learned invaluable lessons about our organisation and the racing world. While the decision to withdraw from OGR is undoubtedly tough, the journey has been a testament to resilience, growth, and the incredible support of our team." - Samantha Grieger, Godspeed Team Manager.

South African entrant Sterna SA (42) All Spice Yachting hope to slip lines over the weekend after getting hauled out in Mossel Bay earlier in the week for essential maintenance on their rudder.

"We discovered Sterna's rudder was leaking. We suspected that the rudder bracket mounted on the outside of the boat had some movement in it that resulted in leakage both between the seal and the rudder stock, as well as between the hull and the rudder tube so being that safety comes first we diverted to Mossel Bay. We hauled out, but it's a fishing harbour with very limited support so it's a very antiquated and interesting haul out. They basically lift you up and then hammer all these old teak blocks under the boat for support. We have boat builders from Cape Town coming to do the work and we're taking no risks with this one. We want to ensure it's perfect for when we are back in the Southern Ocean." - Gerrit Louw, crew member and Director of Allspice Yachting.

Another yacht suffering the lows of the Southern Ocean experience is Explorer AU (28) who returned to Cape Town after just three days of racing. The crew were already delayed a week having arrived in Cape Town just 24 hours before the start of Leg 2.

Mark Sinclair, AKA Captain Coconut recounted what happened.

"Monday afternoon the famous Cape Doctor, also known as a South East wind, was blowing at around 40 - 45 knots in Table Bay. We got under way with appropriate sail setup and were promptly becalmed in the lee of Table Mountain. We bobbed around for a few hours and eventually made our way out of the wind shadow progressing from full sail, down through the gears until they were well reefed with three tucks in the mainsail, a furled away genoa and a staysail. The boat was sailing comfortably as we made our way south towards the Cape of Good Hope where the conditions became more and more boisterous with the wind closer to 60 knots! While the crew were adjusting the sails to the conditions, we noticed that the genoa had a small section unfurled and while resolving this to reduce wind age upfront, the furling line parted and the genoa partially unfurled. We took the most effective action to remedy this by turning downwind to put the sail in the lee of the mainsail but unfortunately, the genoa unfurled completely and was flogging wildly. At the same time, the genoa halyard parted and the sail started working its way down the foil of the furler. Despite our best efforts, the crew were unable to retrieve the sail which had mostly dropped into the water next to the boat and we were left with no option but to cut it away. With the situation under control the crew gathered to assess their options and after much deliberation, it was decided that the potential damage to the forestay that we could not assess inside the foil, and the damaged furler were sufficient motivation to make a speedy return to Cape." - Mark Sinclair, AKA Captain Coconut, Skipper of Explorer.

Work has already begun on Explorer and they fully intend to get sailing again over the weekend. Both EXPLORER and STERNA are now out of the rankings for Leg 2 as outside assistance is not allowed under the notice of race. This means they are still in the event and make their way to Auckland where they will once again be racing for Legs 3 & 4. Explorer has a paying crew vacancy for Legs 3 and 4 here.

Skipper of Galiana WithSecure FI (17) Tapio Lehtinen had an emotional moment as he passed the grave of his GGR boat Asteria, which sank earlier this year. The much respected Finn made international news after a dramatic rescue in the Southern Indian Ocean during the Golden Globe Race. South African, Kirsten Neuschäfer, who went on to win the GGR, diverted course to take him aboard Minnehaha after his Gaia 36 masthead sloop, Asteria, suddenly started taking on water and sinking. Tapio returned home and immediately began working on the beloved Swan 55, the oldest yacht in the OGR, to get her race-ready. He and his young crew are currently eating up the miles with the lead pack.

In a bizarre coincidence in the same week Tapio passed the stop where his boat sank, his rescuer, Kirsten Neuschäfer was awarded Female 2023 Rolex World Sailing Sailor of the Year. Kirsten's win was the first time any woman has won a solo, or crewed yacht race around the world through the Southern Ocean by the three great capes including Cape Horn.

It's not often the OGR team give themselves a pat on the back but maybe after these figures they deserve one. The findings from a Media Analysis based on Meltwater media intelligence found the Public Relations value from OGR2023 in the first three months of activity is €142 Million. It also found the OGR social media channels keep building up with every mile, reaching over 16,000 followers on Facebook and 8,000 followers on Instagram as of early November 2023 and YouTube views are growing. OGR also has 18,000 subscribers to the regular newsletter/press releases and over a quarter of a million unique visitors to the website each month.

The first boats are expected into Auckland in the middle of December and restart date for Leg 3 is January 14th 2024.

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