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Pen Duick VI triumphs in McIntyre Ocean Globe Race

by Ocean Globe Race 11 Apr 23:33 PDT 11 April 2024
Emotional scenes,Pen Duick VI FR (14) taking the treasured double - “provisional” first in line honours and first in Leg four IRC handicap ranking © Tim Bishop/PPL

The French legend Pen Duick VI FR (14), skippered by the indomitable Marie Tabarly, has taken provisional line honours in the final leg of the inaugural McIntyre Ocean Globe Race - and in the days ahead could potentially win the OGR Overall!

At 22:52 UTC, 11th April the stunning black-hulled, 73-foot Bermudan Ketch, revered amongst sailors around-the-world sailed gracefully across the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line in Cowes, UK. With Marie at the helm, leading her loyal troops, it was fitting that this yacht, sailed by her father Éric Tabarly in the 1973 Whitbread Round-the-World Race, should take line honours in such style. With almost a two-day lead on nearest rival L'Esprit d'équipe FR (85) for line honours, Pen Duick VI's dominance on the final leg is unquestionable.

Arriving in 12 knots of wind and strong tidal currents Marie, first mate Tom Napper and the ten determined crew onboard looked both relieved and immensely proud of their epic achievement. Maire had stated from the very beginning that once there was wind Pen Duick VI would shine and she was correct. For the final leg Marie's strategy was "to go fast, fast, fast and we accelerate at the end". Clearly a winning strategy!

Speaking on the pontoon after a difficult docking at Trinity Landing due to the extremely strong currents Marie spoke with passion about her round-the-world experience.

"There were so many stand-out moments. I remember we were going fast, in 55 knots of wind and there were dolphins just jumping on the waves. In 55 knots! Crazy. I remember racing very close with Translated 9 and Maiden and being able to see them. Then all the buddy chats, four times a day on the radio, I'm going to miss them. There are way too many moments, so many amazing moments. " - Marie Tabarly, Skipper of Pen Duick VI.

She also explained how fantastic her crew have been throughout the race.

"I'm very, very proud of my crew. I've got 21 amazing people, good human beings, that you want to spend time with. It was exactly what I planned with them, no surprises, everything was perfect. "

But without a doubt, it's the other crews in the OGR fleet who will live on in Marie's memory forever.

"I am thinking of Translated 9, they were my best enemies. I told them in the beginning I would be their worst nightmare and it turned out they were my worst nightmare. There were four of us, between Spirit of Helsinki, Maiden and Translated 9 that we had a very good fight with. It was an honour and a pleasure to sail against these. But tonight, I'm thinking of Translated 9. I have connected with the people in this race, it's extraordinary. I still don't realise it's over. I'm thinking there is another leg."

Translate 9 ITL (09) were forced to divert to Madeira to repair cracks in their hull - that had been leading in IRC at the time.

And what a fascinating adventure the Ocean Globe Race has been and it's only going to get more and more interesting! With Pen Duick VI taking the double for leg 4, the focus now turns to the Overall Race IRC leaderboard. Pen Duick VI currently sits in second place on the Overall Race IRC leaderboard just 19 hours behind Triana FR (66). But Triana still has 1320 nm until crossing the finish line she is now racing the clock. The forecast suggests light winds ahead which will slow her average speed. She must maintain an average speed of 4.9kt all the way to the finish to hold her IRC lead over Pen Duick VI. Any slower and it could allow Pen Duick VI to gain the coveted OGR Overall IRC Prize.

While they now celebrate their success they will also be reflecting on their momentous achievement. The round-the-world race, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Whitbread race, has proved challenging for both yacht, skipper and crew. And it has not always gone Pen Duick VI's way.

Setting sail last September from Southampton to Cape Town, Leg 1 proved difficult for the historic yacht. On completion of the leg an investigation revealed a broken security seal on a crew phone bag, resulting in a 72 hr time penalty being applied to Pen Duick VI's results. After this adjustment, the yacht ranked 4th in line honours and 7th in IRC. Maire and her crew were determined to improve on this.

Leg 2, Cape Town to Auckland, proved more successful, ranking 2nd in line honours and 5th in IRC. It was during Leg 3 that Pen Duick VI truly showed what she was capable of, barrelling into Punta del Este first across the line and second in IRC.

But once again Pen Duick VI would be in the headlines after experiencing a man overboard at the start of leg 4 in Punta del Este. The crew member involved was recovered within minutes with no injuries being reported. No information about the incident has yet been provided by Pen Duick VI. To date this is the only man overboard situation throughout the OGR.

It was a slow start for the entire race fleet from Punta del Este to Cowes. It has been a long slow slog, with Maire admitting recently that she and her crew were understandably tired. But they were determined to give it all on the final leg and finish in Cowes - the world stage for sailors and sailing:

"The boat that wins this round-the-world voyage will be the one that arrives safely in port, having found the right balance between pulling on the equipment and the crew, and preserving them. In other words, being on the brakes and the accelerator at the same time. For the first time, I admit to feeling a certain relief at the idea of arriving. I think I'm physically, emotionally and nervously exhausted. There's still time, but Pen-Duick VI is clearly in better shape than I am."

She also spoke of throwing everything she and her crew had into the last miles, taking inspiration from the line:

"It was on stage that Jimi Hendrix broke his guitars, not anywhere else. "

Don McIntyre, OGR Founder, is excited to see such an iconic former Whitbread yacht, endowed with such sailing pedigree, and slick skipper and crew first across the line of this inaugural OGR.

"Pen Duick VI's rich history of around-the-world racing goes right back to 1973 and that first Whitbread race. Now Marie and her crew have achieved a dream and rewritten history!! Carefully planned and orchestrated over many years with complete passion and determination on the water. She and her powerful crew finished leg four of the OGR ahead of all others. Who knows, Pen Duick VI might win the overall IRC crown. Every entrant has a back story about how and why, but this one is simply WOW! BRAVO MARIE and to all your crew and entire team. The world is watching and you're proving inspirational to so many. " - Don Mcintyre, OGR Founder.

A second former Whitbread yacht and winner of the 1985 race, L'Esprit d'équipe FR (85) 360 nm miles behind is due to take second-in-line honours, arriving in Cowes within 48 hours. Third place in line honours another 100 miles back and gaining fast is Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) followed by Neptune FR (56) 200 miles further back and then Maiden UK (03).

The remainder of the fleet are once again heading into light winds which will complicate progress. The next 48 hours are going to prove extremely challenging for crews already frustrated with the slow progress.

NOTE - all results are provisional and do not become official until after all compliance checks are complete, skipper and crew declarations are signed and Notice of Race obligations are met. At that time a BLUE CARD is issued and results become official.

OGR Finish Information

Finish Line:

Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, UK


Once crossing the line, the yachts will be berthed at Trinity Landing in West Cowes for 48 hours.

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