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Still smiling despite many, many, many broken spinnaker poles Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh

Sterna and Explorer Finally Finish Leg 3 of McIntyre OGR

Clock Ticking as Translated 9 set sail for Punta del Este!

  • At 09:16 UTC the South African Sterna (42) Swan 53 crossed the Yacht Club Punta del Este finish line after 42 days at sea.
  • Explorer AU (28) comes in just 4 hours later at 13:14 UTC.
  • Translated 9 ITL (09) racing the clock to reach Punta del Este in time for the start of Leg 4 on March 5th.
  • Crews attend carnival and party late into the night – then up early for some serious boat maintenance. 

The final two yachts racing leg three of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race are in! Just as day broke under a cloudy gray sky, Sterna SA (42) the South African Swan 53, crossed the Yacht Club Punta del Este finish line at 09:16 UTC, 24th February. The eight crew onboard the smallest yacht in the fleet (IRC leader Triana being the other) were evidently ecstatic to have finally finished the notorious Cape Horn leg, with Turkish Ebru Yaral helming effortlessly across the line in 15 knots winds.

Party time in Punta del Este after 42 days at sea for Sterna! Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh

After 42 days at sea, looking remarkably pristine, the Swan 53, skippered by former Golden Globe Race sailor Jeremy Bagshaw, was the first of two Swans finishing within hours of each other and both skippered by former GGR sailors Mark Sinclair AKA Captain Coconut, skippering the Swan 57, Explorer AU (28) arriving just 4 hours after Sterna.

All spinnaker poles broken, challenging conditions after passing Cape Horn and no winds leaving them becalmed for days in fog slowed progress for Sterna, who sit 11th in line honours and IRC ranking. But the crew have won the admiration of many for their dogged determination and work ethic – displayed in their quick turnaround in Auckland, which saw them restart Leg 3 just 6 days after arriving from Cape Town and completing a myriad of maintenance.

Despite not crossing the line in their now traditional South African colours, first mate Melissa Du Toit and Aurora couldn’t resist changing for post-arrival celebrations. Credit: Jacqueline Kavanagh / OGR2023

It was just great. The Pacific side was very placid indeed, I don’t think we got a single weather warning. Unfortunately, we went around Cape Horn at midnight and then calmed and headwinds until 24 hours ago, and then we’d the most glorious sail for the last day. It’s been fantastic onboard, what a lovely crew, they are probably the easiest people I ever sailed with. What a wonderful atmosphere.

Jeremy Bagshaw, skipper of Sterna.

In comparing the Golden Globe to the OGR, Jeremy said, while he enjoyed the solitude of the GGR, he enjoyed the dynamic, laughter and enthusiasm on board not to mention having other people to do the hard work! Despite enjoying the experience immensely, Jeremy said a firm ‘no’ to the 2027 OGR!

4  Hours later Explorer crossed the line.

Watch Team Explorer #OGR2023 Leg 3 final arrival VNR, video by Rob Havill.

The Australian entry left Auckland two days after the rest of the fleet due to engine issues – and have been playing catch-up the entire leg. Like Sterna, they didn’t benefit from the extraordinarily favorable westerly winds experienced by the leading fleeting and struggled to make fast progress. They also experienced drama after losing their steering twice, just a couple a hundred miles west of Cape Horn, but managed to repair it just in time for a perfect passage around the infamous Rock.

But throughout their many challenges, their humour has never let them down, unlike their mizzen halyard, which also broke just before Cape Horn.

Let the youth to do the job, Team Explorer let Stefano Caiafa to pop the champagne. Credit: Don McIntyre / OGR2023

“Perfect end to our Cape Horn adventure and very proud to be finishing Leg 3 in first place in Explorer Class. Great result!” Tweeted Explorer just hours before arrival.

Explorer’s arrival proved extra special as local sailor, 20-year-old Stefano Caiafa. Explorer sponsors a youth sailor from every host port visited to join the crew. Stefano is a club champion ILKA sailor and member of the Yacht Club Punta del Este and super excited to be sailing in. Welcomed by family and friends having achieved such a life-defining endeavour, something Stefano is naturally very proud of. His sister, also a champion ILKA SAILOR sailed well offshore in the 2.5m swells onboard her ILKA to meet Explorer and escort them in.  

Stephano‘s sister, also a champion ILKA SAILOR sailed well offshore in the 2.5m swells onboard her ILKA to meet Explorer and escort them in. Credit: Rob Havill / OGR2023

It was a fantastic experience having to deal with all situations and sail as fast as we could. Having to sit there in 55 kts and big seas before Cape Horn with no steering was a whole new experience and having the best bunk, the highest and narrowest just stuck in there, not able to roll was a good thing. The scariest moment was steering the boat in 27 knot winds and 5 meters seas worried the asymmetric spinnaker was going to burst. I would love to do OGR 2027  again in a Uruguayan entry, as it was pretty awesome. Maybe I can get all the club ILKA sailors to crew it.

Stefano Caiafa, from Punta del Este, youth crew onboard Explorer.
Stefano passed Cape Horn and proudly displayed the Punta del Este Yacht Club burgee. Credit: OGR2023/Explorer.

Meanwhile Translated 9 ILT (09) not in the rankings for leg 3 of the OGR, are making excellent progress towards Punta del Este having slipped lines from the Falkland Islands on Friday morning and have an ETA of 28th February. The Swan 65 must be in port for four days before the start of Leg 4 on March 5th to comply with the OGR Notice of Race.

Translated 9 ILT (09) has left the Falkland Islands on Friday morning and ETA of 28th February to Punta del Este. Credit: Translated 9

I’m very, very proud of the work the entire crew has done to repair the boat in such a short amount of time. They’re sailing now to Punta, but we’re obviously worried because we’re checking the quality of the repair and testing the boat and it’s when we discover if we can join Leg 4. We are happy about the repairs but we have to check safety.

We are also doing these important repairs and safety checks for another very important reason – my wife Isabelle will be onboard.

joked Marco Trombetti, co-skipper of Translated 9.

Maintenance work continues on the pontoons in Punta Del Este under the unrelenting sun and the sudden infestation of mosquitoes! Triana reported a positive outcome from their rudder inspection after being lifted and will return to the marina in the coming days. The crew of Galiana WithSecure have been busy with winches and White Shadow and Evrika their deep, deep clean.

The work is never ending if you want to keep your boat looking as shiny as Galiana WithSecure Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh

White Shadow skipper Jean-Christophe Petit was happy to report that the parts required to fix their forestay are en route from Spain. It broke during the final days of Leg 3 and caused major damage to their main sail, which also requires some TLC.

So the land team collaborated with a rigger in Barcelona who made the exact measurement of what we needed. Thursday night the forestay was pressed and we have a member of the crew’s sister coming here and will take the forestay in her luggage. We’ll have the customs agent waiting for us and by the weekend we’ll have the new forestay.

A very satisfied JC, skipper of White Shadow.
Busy Daily life for #OGR2023 sailors in the Yacht Club Punta del Este marina, which has hosted many Whitbread Races at the same berths previously! Credit: Jacqueline Kavanagh / OGR2023

But it’s certainly not been all work, work, work, and Punta del Este certainly put on its sparkly costume during the week with not just one, but two Carnivals! If you look closely you might even spot a few crew members dressed in their crew feathers!

A busy week of social events and safety checks are planned for the coming days, including a Q&A for Yacht Club Punta del Este club members on 26th February and the crew’s arrival party on 27th February.

Race starts March 5th – Punta del Este to Cowes, UK. ETA FOR THE FLEET BETWEEN APRIL 11TH AND 26TH.  



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