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History Made at Whitbread Reunion in Auckland. Final Frantic Frenzy and Drama! Then to Cape Horn.

Whitbread Veterans' gather in front of the iconic Pen Duick VI holding their OGR Gold Coins - presented by Don. Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh


  • A historic evening of memories and tales of adventure at the MCINTYRE OCEAN GLOBE 50th Whitbread Reunion in Auckland. Sailing royalty relives the ‘good old days’. Ceramco NZ, Maiden, “Fisher and Paykel” and Flyer are among the Whitbread yachts represented.
  • Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) Green Card not revalidated for start on Sunday 14th January. They won’t leave with the fleet!
  • Last-minute frenzy of preparation for the 13-strong OGR fleet before slipping lines for Cape Horn Leg. Provisioning, engine issues, and crew changes are just a few of the challenges of sailing around the world like it’s 1973.
  • A busy social calendar of events for skippers and crew – captain’s dinner, crew briefing, prizegiving.
First in line honours and IRC Leg 2!! Party time for Translated 9 at the prize giving at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh

It was an emotional evening at Jellicoe Harbour in Auckland last night as old friends and sailing ‘rivals’ gathered for a historic Whitbread Reunion – celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first race. Legends of the Whitbread Race down through the years came together, some having not seen each other in decades. Hugs, back-slapping, reliving adventures on the high seas a few beers and lots of laughter were the order of the evening – not to mention outrageous tales of in-port escapades from the ‘olden days’, making today’s crew partying feel rather tame in comparison!! 

Watch the MCINTYRE OCEAN GLOBE 50th Whitbread Reunion in Auckland highline.

Barry Pickthall, AKA Mr Whitbread and Peter Montgomery, AKA the voice of the Whitbread, hosted the casual evening in the Ocean Globe Race office, located next to the race fleet prepping for race start for Leg 3, Auckland to Punta del Este starting on Sunday, 14th January. Fifty veterans representing yachts dating back to 1973 attended the event with many planning on taking to the seas once again on Sunday to wave the OGR off.

Aucklander Simon Gundry who sailed on Ceramco 1981/82 and Lion NZ 1985/86 was one of the veterans delighted to be catching up with his sailing buddies and recalled some of the memories that have stayed with him over the years.

The biggest memory would be the mast falling down a day out from the equator on the way to Cape Town. We spent a couple of hours having a cup of tea thinking about it and then got together to work out what to do. We organised what was left over after the rig was over the side of the boat and rigged a jury rig and sailed the nearly 4000 miles to Cape Town – we were at sea in total for nearly 50 days. On a night like this is great seeing a lot of guys we haven’t seen for a long time, really great. And to those heading off on Sunday I’d say, be safe, be safe, have a good time, but be safe.

Aucklander Simon Gundry, Whitbread Veteran, sailed on Ceramco 1981/82 and Lion NZ 1985/86

Claire Russell who sailed on Maiden (89/90) is delighted to see Maiden back again in the race.

It’s amazing to see Maiden, which is an iconic yacht back here with another team of girls. It is really, really wonderful. This race is slightly different from our one, but it’s still all about the people. It’s always been about the people. And that’s what makes evenings like this so interesting.

Claire Russell, sailed on Maiden (89/90)
Claire Russell who sailed on Maiden (89/90) is delighted to see Maiden back again in the race. Credit: OGR2023

Paul Cayard, Whitbread Veteran and race winner, when he skippered EF Language to victory in 1997-98, and now mentoring Translated 9, knows firsthand how transformative the race is.

I’ve sailed in America’s Cup and the Olympics but the truth of the matter is whenever I get together with these guys we only talk about around-the-world sailing and it’s because of the bond you form when you’re at sea for 20 days at a time. There’s no family, no media, no distractions. The bonds with your crew are super strong. You go through very tough times – you go through the best and worst of times together. That is something that around the world sailing gives us that you don’t really get in other sports.

Paul Cayard, Whitbread Veteran, skippered EF Language to victory in 1997-98.
Watch full recording of the #OGR2023 Leg 2 Prize Giving.

Tony Stevenson, Chairman of the New Zealand Sailing Trust, who attended the reunion is passionate about the Ocean Globe race coming to Auckland.  Former Whitbread boats Steinlager 2 and Lion New Zealand are under the stewardship of the trust.

Having the race here reminds us of an era that was so special not only to Kiwis but to global yacht racing. It has gone through a variety of different setups but it doesn’t really change. To circumnavigate the world is something really special and to see these boats here is something really special too.

Tony Stevenson, Chairman of the New Zealand Sailing Trust

Finnish yacht Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) currently sitting 2nd in IRC rating after Leg 1 and 2 has not had their Green Card re-validated by close of business on Friday 12th – meaning they will be unable to start the race with the fleet on Sunday 14th. OGR discovered and established that many crew members are paying to be onboard, amounts substantially over euro 3750 per leg which brings the entry into an OGR category defined as commercial. That requires an entry fee supplement, as per the Notice of Race and entry conditions. Previously the captain had declared in a mandatory declaration that NO CREW were paying over euro 3750 per leg, so the supplement was not required. Now it is. It is a requirement for all entrants who participate in the OGR, that entry fees are paid and current. The entry fee supplement has not been paid, so revalidation of the green card is not possible until such time as it is.

Skipped by Jussi Paavoseppä, Spirit of Helsinki, formerly known as ex-Fazer Finland when she raced in the 1985 Whitbread, took line honours and first in Sayula Class in Leg 1. Leg 2 also proved successful for the Swan 651, coming 3rd in line honours and first in Sayula Class.

Meanwhile, Explorer AU (28) is under extreme pressure to get their engine repaired in time for the Sunday start. Getting parts for a broken fuel injector pump is proving problematic for the crew of the Swan 57 who only arrived in Auckland last week. The clock is ticking.

South African entrants Sterna SA (42) have made great strides in their preparations and look set to be on the start, despite having only six days for the many maintenance jobs required. Golden Globe sailor Jeremy Bagshaw will take over the role as skipper from Melissa Du Toit. Melissa will remain on board as first mate.

Follow Aida for a #OGR2023 #VisitAuckland Pontoon walk in French.

Two yachts have received dispensation for Leg 3 for not sailing with a woman onboard, which is part of the Notice of Race. L’Esprit d équipe FR (85) and Neptune FR (56) will sail with an all male crew after it proved too difficult to find a female crew member at short notice over the festive season.

Capucine Treffot, who is now sailing on Leg 3 onboard Maiden, sailed on Leg 1 and 2 on L’Esprit d’équipe. She was the only woman onboard on leg 2 and while she had a great experience with her fellow crew mates on the former Whitbread-winning yacht, she believes having more females onboard is vital.

It’s tough being the only woman onboard. There is some stuff you can’t share and sometimes you feel really alone. I’d very good friends on the boat, so I’m not missing friends, I’m missing another woman onboard. A mixed crew should mean more than just one woman. It should actually be really mixed.

says Capucine, who is very excited to sail around Cape Horn on Maiden.

Maryama Seck, also a Maiden sailor experienced what it’s like being the only female onboard when she completed Leg 1 on Neptune.

I think being part of a mixed crew shouldn’t mean you’re the only woman onboard. It should mean mixed and more balanced.

Maryama Seck, Leg 1 Crew on Neptune, now Leg 3 on Maiden.
Maiden crew Capucine and Maryama strongly believe there needs to be more than one woman onboard every yacht. Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh

Besides maintenance, provisioning and general last-minute panic, crew’s diaries have been filled with briefing and social events.

Maiden Crew entertains the adoring fans at the prize giving ceremony. Credit:OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh
Pen Duick VI skipper Marie Tabarly battle ready for Leg 3 and Cape Horn. Catching up with fellow crew at the prizegiving. Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh
Matthieu wins a bottle of bubbly for the speediest completion of the ‘Donism’ Bingo at the crew briefing. Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh

The all-crew briefing held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron allowed the crews to view the many, many trophies on display, including the America’s Cup. It also gave the crew the chance for a little “What Don Will Say During A Briefing Bingo”. Compiled by the crew of Maiden UK (03), some of the phrases expected Don  (OGR Founder and Race Director) would include in his briefing were ‘Back in the day’,Penalty’, ‘Human Stories’ and ‘Here’s the Deal’. And he did not disappoint – it only took 17 minutes before ‘BINGO’ was called as a line of ‘Don-isms’ was completed.

McIntyre Ocean Globe Race Leg 2 Onboard Footage Highline

WHERE TO WATCH THE RACE START: January 14th 14:00 hrs.

On The Day – Group Photos and Yachts slip lines from Jellicoe Harbour, Wynyard Marina at 12:00hr

Race Start 14:00hr

Start Line – Off the breakwater at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Where to Watch The Start? From the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron the yachts will sail up the harbour to a rounding mark off the Royal Akarana Yacht Club then proceed towards North Head. You can view the action all along the coast from the Yacht Squadron to North Head.



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