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An extremely happy crew greeted by their Finnish family and friends ready to party. They arrived with a broken generator and desalination and a faulty main engine.Credit: Tim Bishop/PPL/OGR2023

Spirit of Helsinki – FINLAND – and Neptune – FRANCE – across the Line in McIntyre Ocean Globe

Maiden ETA 17:00 16th April – Can they grab Overall Race IRC Gold!!

  • Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes at 23:37 UTC 14th April after 40 days at sea and 6656 nm sailed. The Swan 651 took 3rd in line honours, a provisional 4th in IRC and 1st in Sayula Class for Leg 4.
  • Neptune FR (56) fourth across the line at 21:37 UTC. Provisional 3rd in IRC for Leg 4 after 41 days at sea. Parkinson’s sufferer Bertrand Delhom completes his dream and spreads inspiration worldwide.
  • Clockwatching Time!!! Who will take the Overall IRC race Gold?? The battle is between Spirit of Helsinki, Maiden UK (03) and Triana FR (66). Maiden’s ETA 14:00 UTC 16th April MAY put them 13 hours ahead of Spirit of Helsinki on the IRC Overall Leaderboard. Triana, who has 950 nm to go, must cross the finish line by mid-afternoon 22nd of April to maintain 1st position ahead of Maiden. Too Exciting. It’s anyone’s call!! 
Spirit of Helsinki from Finland across the Line in McIntyre Ocean Globe.Credit:Tim Bishop/PPL/OGR2023

The crew of the former Whitbread yacht, Spirit of Helsinki FR (71), were greeted by cheering Finnish family and fans on the Trinity Landing pontoon, Cowes after successfully completing Leg 4 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race in 40 days. Skipper Jussi Paavoseppä and 12 crew, decked out in their distinctive lemon foulies and sporting some very 1973-style mustaches, were beaming as they hugged their cheering supporters.

The competitive team racing onboard the Swan 651, known as Frazer Finland in the 1985 Whitbread, ranked third in line honours and a provisional 4th in IRC for leg 4. They were also in the running to take Overall IRC for the race but Maiden’s latest ASSUMED ETA could potentially put Spirit of Helsinki 13 hours behind Maiden for Overall IRC rankings.

Spirit of Helsinki and Maiden have had a longstanding friendly rivalry, match-racing each other, particularly over the last two legs, at times within sight of each other. It’s fitting that the two should now be battling it out on the leaderboard, just hours separating the crucial result.  All will become clearer in the next 24hrs.

Maiden’s ETA of 14:00 UTC 16th April is realistic, with current winds, but it did look like it could be in jeopardy when they tweeted about a damaged foil. But things now look back on track.

Foil fixed(ish)! Kite capabilities restored! Hoping 2 be there for lunch! Flying to Cowes, YEEEEHAW.” tweeted Maiden.

Images received from Team Maiden at sea on 5/4/24. Credit: Team Maiden / OGR2023

It’s then all down to Triana, to hang onto the coveted IRC leaderboard first spot. With 950 nm to race they need to cross the finish line by mid-afternoon on 22nd April to maintain their Overall IRC lead. So, at the time of writing, if Maiden arrives by 14:00 UTC on the 16th April, they will overtake Spirit of Helsinki by about 13 hours. And, if Triana arrives later than say 12:00 UTC on 22nd April, Maiden may be crowned Overall IRC leader of the 2023 McIntyre Ocean Globe!!

This leg has proved very challenging for the crew on Triana, who are not used to going slow.

True wind direction 53 deg. Bearing to finish, about the same. Oh well.” tweeted Triana.

It’s nail-biting, tense and fascinating to watch and sailing fans couldn’t ask for more!

This rivalry and comradery are exactly what the OGR crews signed up for and are egged on by. Skipper and father of three, Jussi Paavoseppä, spoke about his desire to win, but also how the OGR is way more than just ‘a race’.

Click to watch the full interview of Jussi Paavoseppä, skipper of Spirit of Helsinki.

When you really love sailing, this is the biggest event you can do. As soon as I saw the advertisement to race around the world, I knew we needed to go. And we did. It was not what I thought it would be, it was far more tense, more expensive and heavier in all senses, but it was amazing. I don’t regret doing it.

Jussi Paavoseppä, skipper of Spirit of Helsinki.

Asked if he would do it again. He simply replied “NO!”

Having only just docked in Cowes he says he’ll need more time to reflect on the race.

It’s all still pretty hazy. We were concentrating so much on what we were doing there weren’t that many really, really big individual moments I can recall right now. Yes, of course, Cape Horn and when you’re surfing 23 knots down a wave, these are special moments, but I think this race is more like one big thing that affects you and defines who you are and what you think. Being on the race and at sea is a great time to learn about yourself. In the modern world, you don’t have time to calm down and think and be with your thoughts.

Jussi continued.

Spirit of Helsinki have placed highly throughout the race and despite not necessarily being one of the bookie’s favourites at the race start in Southampton last September the crew have impressed many. They came in first into Cape and took second in IRC. Cape Town to Auckland saw them come 3rd across the line and 3rd in IRC and Leg 3 Auckland to Punta del Este proved another successful race – they took 3rd in line honours and 5th in IRC, losing out to Maiden by minutes.

Team of Spirit of Helsinki FR (71) were greeted by cheering Finnish family and fans on the Trinity Landing pontoon, Cowes. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023

A second former Whitbread yacht Neptune FR (56) completed their circumnavigation within 24 hours of each other crossing the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line at 21:37 UTC, 15th April.

The French, oranged-wheeled, 60ft aluminum sloop, skippered by Tanneguy Raffray, was welcomed in by her many loyal vocal supporters hoisting welcome flags and dancing for joy. The 1977 Whitbread yacht took 4th in line honours and a provisional 3rd in IRC for leg 4.

The French 60ft aluminum sloop, skippered by Tanneguy Raffray, was welcomed in by her many loyal vocal supporters.Credit: Don McIntyre / OGR2023

Leg 4 has proved Neptune’s most successful performance to date after taking 7th in line honours for the 3 legs. They placed 11th in IRC, leg 1, 8th IRC in leg 2 and 6th IRC leg 3.

What an amazing race it has been. It’s too soon to fully realise what we have achieved. It wasn’t always easy, but we did it and we’re here. The boat is safe, we are safe, it’s fantastic. Everyone is happy – what else can you ask for? I got to sail with my dad so it’s great to be able to share this with him.

The very proud Tanguy Raffray, son of skipper Tanneguy Raffray.
Neptune and her crew have also broken a world record thanks to crew member Bertrand Delhom – the first Parkinson’s sufferer to circumnavigate the globe. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023

Neptune and her crew have also broken a world record thanks to crew member Bertrand Delhom the first Parkinson’s sufferer to circumnavigate the globe. Bertrand sailed around the world spreading a message of hope, proving that guts, determination and a will to succeed can get you anywhere. Parkinson’s disease has not stopped Bertrand and he continues to prove to be an inspiration to anyone he meets.

This was not just a sailing adventure but a human adventure and we have achieved so much. Thank you to my crew for the support. At times I was tired and it was difficult but we have sailed around the world and proved what is possible.

The inspirational sailor Bertrand sporting a t-shirt stating “Invincible” embossed on his chest.
The impressive Bertrand who has proved time and time again he really is invincible, become the first Parkinson’s patient to sail around the world with crews! Credit: Tim Bishop/PPL/OGR2023
Watch team Neptune racing at 9 knots across the line.
Full interview of Bertrand Delhom.

The South African Swan 53 Sterna, have once again encountered rigging issues requiring them to affect essential repairs after their starboard running backstay broke. But like Maiden, they too have carried out the required work and are back in the game.


Finish Line:
Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, UK
Once crossing the line, the yachts will be berthed at Trinity Landing in West Cowes for 48 hours.



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