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One Out, Two Down, 11 Still Sailing in the Ocean Globe Race

18th November 2023
Alex from Galiana WithSecure well and truly getting in touch with the Southern Ocean
Alex from Galiana WithSecure well and truly getting in touch with the Southern Ocean Credit: OGR2023/Galiana WithSecure

There are winners and losers in every game — and never more so in the Ocean Globe Race.

The 11 yachts that slipped lines in Cape Town on 5 November and who are now surfing down the five-metre waves towards Auckland are living the Southern Ocean dream with near-perfect conditions for racing.

Three yachts have been less fortunate, however.

The Skeleton Crew sailing onboard Godspeed have made the announcement to withdraw from the OGR. The popular crew sailing with a mission to provide adventure therapy to US military service members and veterans through sailing expeditions won many fans thanks to their eclectic style, honesty and determination.

Meanwhile, South African entrant Sterna All Spice Yachting hope to slip lines this weekend after getting hauled out in Mossel Bay earlier in the week for essential maintenance on their rudder. 

The crew of Spirit of Helsinki will need their heaters to dry those foulies! | Credit: OGR2023/Spirit of HelsinkiThe crew of Spirit of Helsinki will need their heaters to dry those foulies! | Credit: OGR2023/Spirit of Helsinki

Another yacht suffering the lows of the Southern Ocean experience is Explorer, who returned to Cape Town after just three days of racing. The Australian boat’s crew were already delayed a week having arrived in Cape Town just 24 hours before the start of Leg 2.

Work has already begun on Explorer and they fully intend to get sailing again over the weekend.

Both Explora and Sterna are now out of the rankings for Leg 2 as outside assistance is not allowed under the Notice of Race. This means they are still in the event and make their way to Auckland where they will once again be racing for Legs 3 & 4. Explorer has a paying crew vacancy for Legs 3 and 4 here.

Elsewhere, the iconic French 73ft Bermudian ketch Pen Duick VI, skippered by Marie Tablarly, is leading the dominating pack (with average speeds of 10 knots) but just barely over the Italian Translated 9, who took first in IRC ranking in Leg 1. It’s an echo of the 177 Whitebread Round the World Race when boat yachts sailed into Auckland (Translated 9 was known then as ADC Accutrac).

Maiden and Spirit of Helsinki continue to push equally as hard. Maiden, a yacht built for surfing and line honours back in the day rather than handicap performance, is currently sitting in 3rd in line honours. Spirit of Helsinki who took line honours in Leg 1, sitting 4th – although there’s a stark difference between the reports coming off both yachts.

Former Whitbread winner L’Esprit d’équipe leads the remainder of the pack, just — with Galiana WithSecure, Evrika, Outlaw and Triana forming a wall of iconic yachts across the ocean.

Neptune, who also sailed into Auckland in 1977, has made impressive progress after being forced to return to Port Elizabeth two days after race start to investigate steering issues. They had to come alongside to steady the boat for inspections and work, but accepted no outside assistance and remained in the race.

Galiana WithSecure skipper Tapio Lehtinen had an emotional moment as he passed the grave of his Golden Globe Race boat Asteria. The much respected Finn made international news after a dramatic rescue in the Southern Indian Ocean during the Golden Globe Race a year ago.

A toast to the future for Godspeed and Skeleton Crew | Credit: OGR2023/Godspeed/Emma WalkerA toast to the future for Godspeed and Skeleton Crew | Credit: OGR2023/Godspeed/Emma Walker

South African Kirsten Neuschäfer, who went on to win the Golden Globe Race this past summer, diverted course to take him aboard Minnehaha after his Gaia 36 masthead sloop Asteria suddenly started taking on water and sinking.

Tapio returned home and immediately began working on the beloved Swan 55, the oldest yacht in the OGR, to get her race-ready. He and his young crew are currently eating up the miles with the lead pack.

In a bizarre coincidence, in the same week Tapio passed the stop where his boat sank, his rescuer Kirsten Neuschäfer was awarded the 2023 Rolex World Sailing Sailor of the Year gong. Kirsten’s win was the first time any woman has won a solo or crewed yacht race around the world through the Southern Ocean by the three great capes including Cape Horn.

Back to this race, and the first boats are expected into Auckland in the middle of December with a few weeks to rest and retool before the restart date for Leg 3 on 14 January 2024.

Published in Offshore Team

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