Global Ocean Race : Clear of the Caribbean

Sunday, 29 April 2012


Over the past 48 hours, the Global Ocean Race (GOR) Class40s have been negotiating the Caribbean Islands and a swollen area of light breeze blocking the route to Charleston. Fleet leader, Cessna Citation broke into fresh north-easterly breeze early on Thursday morning GMT, 180 miles NNE of the Dominican Republic, but in second place, Financial Crisis had to wait a further 24 hours before finding the new wind.

Meanwhile, the two chasing boats, Phesheya-Racing in third and Sec. Hayai in fourth, opted to weave through the Caribbean Islands sidestepping the high pressure lurking  further east out in the Atlantic. At 12:00 GMT on Friday, Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough had been averaging 11-13 knots for 24 hours with Cessna Citation, extending their lead over Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo on Financial Crisis by 73 miles in 24 hours, building the distance deficit rapidly as the Kiwi-Australian duo pile north-west averaging 11.9 knots at a hot angle, while Nannini and Frattaruolo are downwind on starboard gybe averaging just under ten knots.

South of Financial Crisis by 144 miles at noon on Friday, the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire exited the Caribbean at 03:00 GMT on Friday morning, leaving the British Virgin Islands to port of Phesheya-Racing with the Dutch duo of Erik van Vuuren and Yvonne Beusker pushing hard averaging 11 knots as they took Sec. Hayai between Antigua and Barbuda removing just over 40 miles from the lead held by Phesheya-Racing in 24 hours, trailing the South Africans by 114 miles as Sec. Hayai left St. Martin and St. Barths to port at noon.

On Phesheya-Racing, the option to head through the islands provided some welcome sightseeing: “We did the full tour of all the Leeward Islands in under 24 hours starting with a sighting of the loom of Guadeloupe's lights late on Wednesday night,” reported Nick Leggatt on Friday morning. At 18:00 GMT on Thursday evening, the duo left St. Barths to starboard.  “As we passed about three miles from the island we were pleasantly surprised to receive a call over the VHF radio from an old friend, Paul, the skipper of the Cape Town-built Gunboat catamaran Phaedo,” continues Leggatt. “It was good to talk to somebody else after all these days at sea and perhaps we should apologise for not calling all of our friends, and family, who are living and working on these beautiful islands.”

There was, however, a drawback to sailing so close to civilisation: “We were kept on our toes all day long by the large number of cruising yachts, passenger liners, cargo ships,” confirms Leggatt. “Progress was peaceful until we left the shores of St. Maarten and were subjected to the nautical equivalent of road rage,” he explains. “A large motor yacht thundered down towards us at full throttle, passing only a few met res away and almost swamping us with his wake,” says Leggatt. “The motoryacht skipper's lack of consideration wasn't much appreciated, though perhaps we have been spoiled by our isolation for such a long time?”

GOR leaderboard at 12:00 GMT 27/04/12:
1.    Cessna Citation DTF 648 10.7kts
2.    Financial Crisis DTL 308 9.7kts
3.    Phesheya-Racing DTL 452 10.1kts
4.    Sec. Hayai DTL 566 10.4kts

by Oliver Dewar

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 29 April 2012 )