OGR Fleet Flying In The Fickle Fifties

McIntyre Ocean Globe Past Point Nemo – Cape Horn 1500 MILES TO GO!

  • Fleet dips into not-so-furious fifties, en route to Cape Horn in uncharacteristically ‘kind’ weather. Not a storm in sight – but let’s not talk too soon!!
  • Second waypoint and Point Nemo ticked off Leg 3 – for most.
  • Fleet starts to split after two weeks of too-close-to-call sailing – Pen Duick VI FR (14), Translated 9 ITL (09) and Maiden UK (08) top the leaderboard. But now, stalling in light winds! Will the fleet catch up?
  • Sterna SA (42) and Explorer AU (28) slowed by high-pressure, again, but winds about to give them a break?

The McIntyre Ocean Globe fleet is pushing through the soft ‘Furious Fifties’ and the crews continue to embrace the ride, loving every minute. 50 degrees South is proving a lot less furious than expected. Yes, they’ve experienced 30 knots winds, gusting to 40 at times, with 6-meter waves and bone-chilling salty spray soaking their foulies. But there’s no doubt that a few are starting to question whether the Southern Ocean is, well, dare we say it, as challenging as its terrifying reputation. As we’ve said before – be VERY careful what you wish for. Cape Horn and all its surprises are still to come, but so far for the past 3000 miles and like the whole Indian Southern Ocean of leg two, the sailing is almost too easy! Cape Horn is 1500 miles away and the long-range forecast is not showing a huge storm.

Having successfully passed the second of Leg 3’s 50 degrees waypoint to starboard, the majority of the fleet dipped further South and continued to benefit from the perfect Easterly/South Easterly 20/25 knot winds, ticking 200 nm days off their charts. But, uncharacteristically it’s now not treacherous seas and storms that’s threatening speeds but a pesky high on the horizon.

Two weeks out from race start in Auckland (Sunday 14th Jan) has witnessed a tightly packed fleet race in what was being described as ‘Champagne Sailing’, but the Flyer Class yachts have finally shown their teeth, taking the lead as they did in Leg 1 and 2. At the time of writing, the 73-foot French Ketch Pen Duick VI FR (14) skippered by Marie Tabarly led, JUST. They’re a couple of miles ahead of Translated 9 ITL (09) with Maiden UK (08) and Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) breathing down their stern and closing the gap on the two leaders. But lighter wind is now slowing the head of the fleet giving a chance for those bringing up the rear to take back some miles lost in the last few days.

Neptune FR (56), Triana FR (66), Galiana WithSecure FI (06) and White Shadow ESP (17) remain tightly packed on the leaderboard. L’Esprit d’équipe FR (85) are bearing down with Outlaw AU (08) just 20nm. Evrika FR (07) the yacht sitting the most northerly of the pack, but experiencing the same winds, are also within miles of the middle pack.

The French Swan 53, Triana FR (66), skimmed past the second waypoint by 1 mile, recently lost the lead in IRC ranking to Translated 9. Triana, one of the smallest yachts in the fleet, skippered by Jean d’Arthuys, has been giving the ‘bigger’ yachts something to think about as they held the coveted No 1 IRC ranking for over a week. Now holding onto the second spot, she continues to be one to watch. The Swan 55, Galiana WithSecure FI (06), skippered by Golden Globe Race skipper Tapio Lehtinen is third in IRC ranking, with Maiden in fourth.

The fleet has also recognised their momentous achievement of sailing past Point Nemo (48°52.6′ South 123°23.6′ West), the spot in the Southern Ocean furthest from land in any direction. There are not many sailors that can brag about being down this neck of the woods and the OGR crews are rightfully proud.

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JPK August 2023
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