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Winners and losers Leg 4 of McIntyre Ocean Globe Race

Ex-Whitbread Winner ( now for sale) - L'Esprit d'équipe determined to show what they are capable of leaving Punta del Este on March 5th. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023

Frustrating Fifteen Days for Fleet

  • The French lead the charge with L’Esprit d’équipe FR (85) holding first in IRC. Pen Duick VI FR (14) first in line honours. Top two steam ahead reaching trades as the rest struggle!
  • After two weeks of racing north along the coast of Brazil, slow, challenging conditions prove frustrating. The 13-strong fleet split into three packs.
  • Watermakers, fridges, flogging sails and fishing occupy the crews.
  • Race statistics – almost 30% of OGR sailors are women!

Former Whitbread Round the World Race winner L’Esprit d’équipe FR (85) takes first in IRC in Leg 4 of the Ocean Globe Race. The three-time Whitbread entrant, skippered by Lionel Regnier, and supported by LES SABLES D’OLONNE his home town is finally showing what she’s capable of and storming ahead alongside another French legend Pen Duick VI FR (14), who is leading in line honours – just! A double whammy for the French.

It’s been a slow, challenging two weeks of racing up the Brazilian Coast for the entire fleet, but L’Esprit d’équipe’s decision to take the most Easterly route is paying off – for now. And, the crew are clearly delighted to finally be topping the fleet.

“After 2 weeks of racing, L’Esprit d’équipe is at the forefront. A second youth for this boat full of history.” tweeted L’Esprit d’équipe.

Hot and sweaty onboard L’Esprit d’équipe but worth in when you’re leading in IRC Credit: OGR2023/ L’Esprit d’équipe

West and just five nm ahead of L’Esprit d’équipe, is Pen Duick VI FR (14). Marie Tabarly and her Pen Duick VI crew took line honours in Punta del Este, so it’s not a title she’s going to hand over easily. Tabarly explained how she views the race to date:

In fact, a race in 4 legs is a bit like a horse-eventing competition. The first leg, the descent of the Atlantic. Equivalent to the dressage event. Finesse, rigor. No adrenaline or great danger, but a lot of precision and technique. The second and third legs, the great South. The Cross Country. Where we gallop like crazy at 550 meters per minute, jumping huge fixed obstacles, where the trust between rider and horse is paramount. Adrenaline pumping, the event is long, intense, and dangerous.

Finally, the last event, show jumping. Mobile obstacles that can fall, to test the freshness, respect, and concentration of the horse after the other 2 events. For us, it’s the ascent of the Atlantic, with all its pitfalls and after 7 months at sea. Really full of traps: Cabo Frio, the Atlantic cold front, the Doldrums, the Azores anticyclone, the Bay of Biscay. The air is hot, the sails worn, their usage ranges are therefore different. The guys are tired too. To be taken into account in the decisions.

Marie Tabarly, skipper of Pen Duick VI.
Pen Duick VI First Mate Tom Napper busy ensuring they remain 1st in line honours!! Credit:OGR2023/Pen Duick VI

The crew of Pen Duick VI sailing the much-loved 73ft Bermudan Ketch were keen to get back on the water and recommence their personal battle against Translated 9 ITL (09) who they see as their love/hate on-the-water nemesis. Translated 9, a Swan 65, formerly known as ADC Accutrac when sailed in the 1977 Whitbread, retired from Leg 3 after stopping in the Falkland Islands for essential repairs after discovering hull damage. They currently sit 3rd in IRC for leg 4 and 5th in line honours – something they will certainly want to improve on – another yacht that doesn’t like not being on top!

All smiles and happy to be back at sea the crew of Translated 9 are fighting to regain top spot in leg 4.

The French Swan 53, Triana FR (66) skippered by Jean d’Arthuys, ranks a provisional 1st in the combined IRC results but has been struggling since the start of Leg 4 continually falling into windless holes. One of the smallest yachts in the fleet, she is currently 10th in IRC and line honours!! For Triana’s crew, who have impressed everyone with the performance in previous legs, their current slow progress is proving difficult to swallow. At the time of writing Triana was wallowing just 5nm ahead of White Shadow ES (17) and just 15nm ahead of Explorer AU (28) the last boat in the fleet – not somewhere they are used to being!

It’s not easy, we’ve had no wind now for 5 or 6 days. It’s beginning to feel long, so it’s a psychological battle. But we have to be patient and make the boat work with the wind we have. The wind is always changing direction and strength so this is very, very hard.

Jean d’Arthuys, skipper of Triana.

Admitted skipper Jean d’Arthuys let it be known he and his crew were not enjoying being stuck and finding it hard to put in such enormous effort for just 50 nm of progress in 24hrs.

Listen to Jean d’Arthuys’ report on his frustrations here.

But in such fluky weather, things can change quickly, and nothing is certain for the French. Just days ago, the Finns were leading in both line honours and IRC rankings. Galiana WithSecure FI (06), a Swan 55 and oldest yacht in the fleet was leading in IRC with the former Whitbread entrant Spirit of Helsinki FR (71) leading in line honours, but their success was short-lived. We all know the saying about the fat lady……………

Never a dull moment onboard Galiana WithSecure with Anton up the mizzen mast checking the wind generator Credit:OGR2023/Galiana WithSecure

“Deja vu from the 1st leg. Thought yesterday that we finally got into the trades with a stiff and stable NE breeze. Nope, TWD 330, 10kn, moving:).” reported Galiana WithSecure.

Meanwhile, Spirit of Helsinki has been keeping us fully informed of their fishing antics while struggling to catch the wind and stay on top of the leaderboard.

“Where R the “trade winds”? Argh… Had a fight with a white marlin around 80lbs, marlin won:( Reel was smoking… Dreaming about leg 5:).” said Spirit of Helsinki.

They also just reported – “We lost the fridge today! Totally.”

Fickle winds have meant very slow progress for the whole fleet since the race start on March 5th, averaging around 118 nm a day!! And with no South Easterly trades the fleet is now split into three groups. And with more holes than a fisherman’s net, it’s been tactical choices that have produced the essential minimal race gains. Maiden UK (03) who led in the first week has dropped back and now sits third in line honours. But they’ve had bigger issues than their ranking with a potential water crisis. With both their generator and inverter out of action just 3 days into the race, this meant their watermaker was not functioning. Concerning, not only for a yacht heading into the doldrums but the fact they rely primarily on freeze-dried food – requiring water.

Vuyi and Rachel getting the generator and inverter back up and running on Maiden Credit: OGR2023/Maiden

One week out the skipper advised OGR they were down to just one week of water with over 5000 miles to go. Options discussed included a 48hr time penalty for opening their emergency manual desalinator or receiving water from SPIRIT OF HELSINKI which would knock them out of the rankings for leg 4. Fortunately, the next day it rained and filled their tanks.

Then after much radio communication and advice received from the rest of the fleet, a week of hard work resulted in the crew getting the generator back up and running. So now they’re asking for the rain to stop! But having got Maiden’s mechanics back up and running it is back to school.

“Celestial navigation is currently all the rage on Maiden! A constant frenzy around the nav desk, many students quickly becoming masters:).” tweeted Maiden.

Neptune FR (56) and Evrika Fr (07), have both opted for the most Westerly option in the fleet. While progress is painfully slow, they’re still managing to enjoy every precious moment at sea.

“Hairdresser session for some, St Patrick’s aperitif at sunset, it’s nice to be together in this beautiful atmosphere.” tweeted Neptune.

Outlaw AU (08) and Sterna SA (42) are also both suffering from broken fridges or freezers meaning the meat eaters onboard were forced to get busy! And might not be hungry for a while.

The workings of Sterna’s fridge looking a little beyond repair. Let’s hope they’re good at fishing? Credit:OGR2023/Sterna

“The galley freezer on Outlaw has decided to run out of gas! Half of our frozen meat is in there. Race is on to cook and eat it before it spoils.” said Outlaw.

“Who needs a freezer or fridge when survival is mainly ensured by the fan? Can you also make wind with it???;-).” tweeted Sterna

Meanwhile, White Shadow ES (17), Sterna SA (42) and Explorer AU (28) are bringing up the rear of the fleet. But, with such slow progress to date, only 600 nm separates the fleet from leader to tail-enders. The coming week is going to prove very challenging mentally for sailors who still have the doldrums to endure.

Whatever floats your boat! Skipper Mark Sinclair, washing his coconuts!! Credit: OGR2023/Explorer

And for the number crunchers amongst you, we have some OGR statistics! And boy are they interesting! Most impressive is the fact that almost 30% of the 243 OGR sailors are women, a great start for an inaugural event in a traditionally male-dominated arena. Progress, with more to do and the ideal race to do it in.

With five French yachts in the fleet, it’s hardly too surprising that there are 110 French sailors. The two Finnish yachts boost the number of Finns participating to 38. Sailors from 26 different nationalities have joined the OGR including sailors from Japan, Afghanistan, Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, Antigua, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

There are now 137 sailors who can boast that they’ve sailed around Cape Horn and by the end of Leg 4, there will be 81 hardy folk bragging about becoming FULL CIRCUMNAVIGATORS!

RACE STATISTICS

  • Number of sailors to take part in the OGR: 243
  • Number of women: 71
  • Number of French: 110
  • Number of Finnish: 38
  • Number of British: 22
  • Number of Nationalities: 26
  • New Cape Horner: 137
  • Round the Worlders: 81
  • Youngest sailor – 17 years old
  • Oldest sailor – 73 years old

And as part of the OGR Notice of Race each yacht has their waste weighed on arrival into port.

Here are the average figures for waste in each stopover!

  • Plastic – 224.5 KG
  • Metal – 161.5 KG
  • Paper – 38.5 KG
  • Glass – 83.5 KG
  • Card – 8KG
  • Mixed-Recycling – 248 KG
  • Non-Recycling – 80 KG

Total – 844 KG

If you are interested in becoming a statistic for the 2027 OGR, it’s never been easier and there are currently at least 10 teams waiting to join the second edition of the OGR. There are seven OGR yachts, up for sale at present. These include Translated 9 Swan 65, the Baltic 55 Outlaw, White Shadow a Swan 57, Sterna a Swan 53, current IRC leaders L’Esprit d’équipe and Godspeed a Swan 51. At least four of the current fleet including EXPLORER are planning to do it all again in 2027. ( For those interested in exploring the details of the boats, our YouTube channel features a series of #OGR2023 Boat Tours. )

Now all you need to do is pick your yacht, sign up your crew, pack your fishing rod and we’ll see you on the start line for the 2027 OGR!!

Yes, this could be you!! White Shadow in action at Cape Town race start. Credit:OGR2023/Marco Ausderau

Follow the race on the OGR tracker HERE! The first yachts are expected across the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line approx. April 9th/10th. Once crossing the finish line, the fleet will dock at Trinity Landing, West Cowes, for the traditional Champagne reception and welcome by family and friends.

Weekly onboard photo review for this week 🙂 .
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