By Brian Hancock
After a spectacular start in the choppy Solent waters, the McIntyre Ocean Globe fleet sailed off into a haze dodging a multitude of spectator boats that turned out to watch history repeat itself. As someone who had done some of the earlier Whitbread races I felt like I had been transported back to a 20 year old version of myself.
It was clear from the start that this was not going to be a cruise. When the start cannon fired off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Explorer, Spirit of Helsinki and the Italian entry Translated 9 had speed on the Isle of Wight side of the course, while Maiden matched them on the north side of the start line. From there the match racing began. The easterly wind gave way to clearing skies and a shift to the west and all the boats sailed close hauled toward the Needles at the western end of the island.
Overnight the racing was still intense as a light southwesterly had the boats tacking, each trying to position themselves to take advantage of what’s expected to be a building breeze from the west, then northwest tomorrow before a swing to the north for a few days. Ideal conditions for a fast passage south. Translated 9 so far is taking no prisoners and has been showing Marie Tabarly aboard Pen Duick VI, the largest boat in the race, their transom, and leads the fleet, for now. 1st in Flyer Class, 1st in IRC and 1st overall.
Sterna reports a broken babystay now backed up by a Dyneema line and carrying on to Cape Town.