OGR – Dramatic start to Leg 4 of Ocean Race in Punta del Este

Spirit of Helsinki First Across The Start Line

  • Pen Duick VI FR (14) Man Overboard – Crew Recovered.
  • Evrika FR (06) & Explorer AU (28) hit buoys just after starting in big seas.
  • Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) first across the start line in challenging South Westerly 15-knot winds and lumpy 3-meter seas. Outlaw AU (08) second, Pen Duick VI FR (14) third.
  • Emotional goodbyes as 137 sailors set sail for Cowes, UK in the final leg of McIntyre Ocean Globe Race.
  • Over 6550 nm of tricking sailing ahead for the 13 classic yachts – fickle winds, doldrums, and the Bay of Biscay to look forward to!
Pen Duick VI FR (14) Man Overboard after the leg 4 start - Crew Recovered. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023
Pen Duick VI FR (14) Man Overboard after the leg 4 start – Crew Recovered. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023

It was a thrilling start to Leg 4 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Just seconds after the 14:00, local time start, Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) crossed the line first, Outlaw AU (08) second and Pen Duick VI FR (14) third – just a hair’s breadth separating the nail-bitingly tightly packed fleet.

Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) led the charge across the Leg 4 starting line, with Outlaw AU (08) following closely behind. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023
Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) led the charge across the Leg 4 starting line, with Outlaw AU (08) following closely behind. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023

In 15, gusting to 25 knots South Westerly headwinds and lumpy 3-4 meter swells the OGR spectators gracing the Punta del Este breakwater were treated to an entertaining display of classic yachts racing in, at times, way too close for comfort.

Initially slated to lead off, Team 9 ITL (09) requested to start last due to last-minute packing frenzy. Impressively, they made it for the Leg 4 start. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023
Initially slated to lead off, Team 9 ITL (09) requested to start last due to last-minute packing frenzy. Impressively, they made it for the Leg 4 start. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023

And it wasn’t long before this too close for comfort racing and big seas produced the first drama of the day. Shortly after race start Maiden UK (03) radioed to communicate with a Man Over Board – which was later confirmed to be a member of the crew sailing Pen Duick VI. The Prefecture was alerted to the call. OGR requested confirmation from all entrants and Spirit of Helsinki reported the MOB was from Pen Duick VI and the person concerned had been recovered. At the time of writing Pen Duick VI has yet to confirm further clarification of the incident and OGR control is awaiting further information.

Start of Leg 4 of the McIntyre Ocean Race in Punta del Este amidst big swells. Credit: Aida Valceanu / OGR2023
Start of Leg 4 of the McIntyre Ocean Race in Punta del Este amidst big swells. Credit: Aida Valceanu / OGR2023

Also, within the first 30 minutes, the stunning Swan 65 Evrika FR (07) and IRC winners of leg 3 Triana FR (66) came a little too close for comfort narrowly avoiding a collision but resulting in Evrika colliding with and spearing a buoy with their bowsprit. Damage reports have not yet been received from Evrika but it must have been a tricky extraction… Explorer AU (28) was also to suffer from the big sea hitting a large port control maker in a stalled tack, sliding up onto it before dragging past. They reported the damage as ‘cosmetic’ and continued unaffected by the hit and run.

Getting way too close and personal with a buoy stuck on the bowsprit of the Swan 65 Evrika. Credit: Matias Capizzano
Getting way too close and personal with a buoy stuck on the bowsprit of the Swan 65 Evrika. Credit: Matias Capizzano

All this drama and the fleet hadn’t even left the bay!

The day started a lot less dramatically for 137 sailors setting sail for Cowes, UK in the final leg of the OGR. With final provisions stowed, phones sealed in grab bags and last-minute maintenance completed the crews assembled in front of the Yacht Club Punta Del Este for the customary fleet photo. There was also another generous presentation by the club for each yacht as a memento of their time in the Punta del Este stopover. Meanwhile, the naval band entertained the spectators who’d gathered to wave the fleet off – many recalling memories of former Whitbread Round the World stopover.

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