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The nearly winner and the fiesta boat finish McIntyre Ocean Globe

by Ocean Globe Race 24 Apr 09:33 PDT 23 April 2024
Champagne Flood Trinity Landing Pontoon © Don McIntyre / OGR2024

Trinity Landing pontoon in Cowes was a busy spot Tuesday afternoon with Triana FR (66) SWAN 53 and White Shadow ESP (17) SWAN 57 finishing the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race after 48 days of racing.

Just over an hour apart separated the two yachts who'd just raced from Punta del Este in the final leg of the race. Both yachts arrived in their own unique style but united in their emotion, relief, pride and knowledge that they've completed something extraordinary.

It was slow progress for French Swan 53 and Spanish Swan 57 in the last 36 hours, at times with just 4 nm separating the yachts. Fickle winds and currents making their arrival frustratingly tricky for crews eager to complete the circle.

But finally, the wind Gods looked favorably upon the circumnavigators who'd set sail from the same Southampton waters on September 10th - some 225 days previously.

Triana, skippered by Jean d'Arthuys, finished their epic circumnavigation at 16:25 UTC 23rd April. One of the smallest yachts in the fleet and with only seven crew they've impressed many since race start consistently ranking highly - until the final and crucial leg of the OGR. Sadly, no matter how hard the crew worked on this last leg the weather just held them back. After 48 days racing, they finished 7th in line honours and IRC for Leg 4.

Triana's super competitive crew, including first mate Sébastien Audigane, already a six-time Cape Horner and Jules Verne record holder, looked on track to take Overall IRC Gold for the race thanks to a seven-day lead heading into Leg 4. But slow progress from the start of the Punta del Este to Cowes leg due to strong headwinds or no wind, saw Maiden UK (03) eat away at that lead. Triana needed to arrive on the morning of 22nd April to hang onto the title, but it was not to be. The all-female crew onboard Maiden have been confirmed as the official Overall Winners of the OGR. The Maiden crew were on Trinity Landing pontoon to welcome in Triana.

Triana hit the headlines just days into Leg 1 when 210 nautical miles southwest of Portugal a crew member fell and lacerated his leg. The sailor's conditions deteriorated during the night and it was decided an evacuation was necessary. A long-range helicopter medivac was successfully carried out the following day and the crew member made a full recovery.

The Swan 53 raced across the Cape Town finish line 8th in line honours and 4th in IRC. They arrived with no engine, making for a challenging docking after a long race. Leg 2 saw an improvement, racing 5th across the line in Auckland and 2nd in IRC. But it was the Cape Horn leg that proved the most successful for Triana placing 4th in line honours and 1st in IRC. It was this win that would put them in such a strong position heading into Leg 4.

Skipper Jean d'Arthuys, who has dreamt of taking part in the Whitbread Round the World Race since his youth, speaks of his immense pride in what they have achieved.

"We are very proud to enter the circle of sailors who've sailed around the world by the three Capes. It was an amazing race, and for us it's a fantastic adventure. When you do something that you heard was impossible to do and you do it, there is something fundamentally that changes in you. This race will change my life." Jean D'arthuys, skipper of Triana.

But it was this final leg that was to prove the most challenging for Triana. For a crew familiar with keeping up with the bigger, more powerful yachts in the fleet it was mentally very difficult to know that every hour meant their chance of taking the Overall Gold in IRC was slipping away.

Added to the mental strains was the fact they ran low on food - surviving on soup and pasta for the final weeks.

Shortly after the champagne had popped onboard Triana it was White Shadow's turn for the spotlight. And few yachts deserve that spotlight as much as the fantastically enthusiastic crew of the Spanish Swan 57.

Skippered by Jean-Christophe Petit they crossed the line at 17:32 UTC, ranking 8th in line honours and 9th in IRC for Leg 4.

The international crew from France, Spain, Argentina and Germany have not always ranked highly on the leaderboard, but have been the embodiment of the spirit of the OGR. They took on the challenge of racing around the world by the three Great Capes and had an adventure of a lifetime along the way. And this spirit showed as they sang and danced across the finish line, as is their norm. The crew would without a doubt also take first place overall for the most impressive champagne shower.

The emotional and beaming Jean-Christophe Petit spoke about what the race has meant to him and his crew.

"There are so many emotions. When you are sailing you just think about the present, the next hour, the following day, but you never think about what you are doing. And then you arrive and you realise, we did it!!! We've circled around the world. When I was leaving, I never thought ahhh in eight months I'll be back, but here we are. It's very, very emotional. We have 4 rules on the boat 'A's - Arrive, All, ASAP and Amigos. We've done that." Jean-Christophe Petit, skipper of White Shadow.

White Shadow's tweets have proved the most philosophical of the entire fleet, with crew often relaying their innermost feelings in 140 characters or less. Not an easy task, but something that has won them many, many fans internationally.

On Leg 1 they sailed into Cape Town 9th and 8th in IRC. Leg 2 saw them arrive 11th in both line honours and IRC into Auckland where they also provided musical entertainment using onboard kitchen utensils. And Leg 3 they ranked 10th in both classes. It was during Leg 3 that their forestay snapped, shredding their mainsail - resulting in having to continue with a severely reefed sail. But they remained upbeat throughout their challenges.

Leg 4 was to prove their most successful, putting pressure on the French yacht Triana right up to the very end. But for this passionate crew, they may well argue that their experiences over the last eight months on the water far outweigh rankings on any leaderboard.

Galiana WithSecure and Evrika continue to battle light headwinds towards Cowes and have been completely becalmed for the last 24hours just 45 miles from the finish having to anchor in 50 metres to fight the 3.5mtr tidal currents... ETA Wednesday 24th midnight.

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