The Ocean Race Europe fleet leaves Cascais for Alicante

Having proved right the old sporting adage of never ever giving up with a surprise win in the VO65 class on Leg 1, the skipper of The Austrian Ocean Race Project, Gerwin Jansen, said his young crew would be giving their all like always on the way to Alicante.

“We enjoyed the win like we should,” Jansen said. “But we have also tried to get the expectations down a little bit. It’s not quite normal that the young team wins like that for the very first race. So now we are ready for leg two, we’re going to try to push as hard as we can.”

“It’s going to be downwind sailing to the southern part of Portugal. Then we go into the Straits of Gibraltar and we’re looking at pretty strong winds upwind with choppy waves. So it’s going to be tough on the crew, tough on the boat, and we have to survive the fight.”

After a short delay to allow a new breeze to stabilize IMOCA 60s were the first fleet to start leg two, with all five boats powering off the line on a short fast northwest reach to a turning buoy marking the exit point from Cascais, where Thomas Ruyant’s LinkedOut was the first to round.

Approximately two miles from the start, 11th Hour Racing Team was involved in a collision with a small, anchored, motorboat. There were no injuries on either boat, and the motorboat returned to port under its own power and unassisted. 11th Hour Racing Team also returned to port, having suspended racing, to assess damage to its port foil.

“We’ve been able to confirm through race management that everybody on that motorboat is okay and we sent a group of our support team to accompany them into the marina, which they were able to do unassisted and under their own power. I can also confirm that everyone on our crew is also okay,” said Charlie Enright, the skipper of the 11th Hour Racing Team.

IMOCA’s off on Leg 2 – Sailing Energy pic

“We take full responsibility for what happened on the water today. We are back in the marina assessing exactly what happened to our boat. We’ve definitely sustained some damage to our port foil. We’re working with the shore team and the design team to see what that means for our participation.”

After approximately two hours ashore, the team signalled its intent to restart the leg later on Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, the seven VO65s were a spectacular sight as they lined up in close formation on the first reach. As if to prove that their leg one win was no fluke The Austrian Ocean Race Project crew got the jump off the line to lead the VO65s at the Cascais exit mark.

Before leaving the dock in Cascais a baton from the Relay4Nature initiative was passed from the Portuguese Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team VO65 skipper Yoann Richomme (FRA) to Chris Nicholson (AUS) skipper of the Dutch AkzoNobel Ocean Racing VO65.

The Relay4Nature is a baton relay for the ocean, which aims to encourage world leaders to radically increase their ambition for nature, human and ocean rights across all policy and actions and to unite for stronger ocean governance.

On leg one from Lorient the Relay4Nature baton was carried aboard the winning IMOCA 60 11th Hour Racing Team (USA) and passed to the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team by Swiss crew member Justine Mettraux.

Based on the latest weather models the teams are predicted to complete leg two in four days, and so are expected to arrive in Alicante on Thursday June 9.
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Jeanneau JY60