Doublehander steam through

Chilean duo take the lead in the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Wednesday October 15th 2008, Author: Brian Hancock, Location: United Kingdom
There is a change of leader in the Portimão Global Ocean Race just three days after the race started from Portimão, Portugal. The Chilean team of Felipe Cubillos and José Muñoz have stormed into the lead aboard the Guillaume Verdier-designed Class 40 Desafio Cabo de Hornos. In doing so they bump Belgium Michel Kleinjans off the top spot. Kleinjans has dominated the race since the first mandatory gate at Sagres, but with the wind piping up and full sail flying it’s clearly tough to hold off a charge from a double-handed entry.

Earlier this morning Roaring Forty and Desafio Cabo de Hornos crossed gybes with the German entry Beluga Racer slightly to the north and sailing fast, but the 12:20 UTC poll told a whole new story. The southernmost boat, Desafio Cabo de Hornos holds a slim 6 mile lead over Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme on Beluga Racer with Kleinjans on Roaring Forty a scan mile astern of Beluga Racer on a distance to go basis. Six miles separate these teams and with full canvas set it’s a superb boat race mid Atlantic.

Further back Team Mowgli is feeling the pressure. As the wind piped up the British duo of Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson had their first calamity. Jeremy Salvesen described it in an email to his supporters group. “Yesterday we tracked east towards the coast of Morocco in order to try and find some stronger winds - there is a well know acceleration zone coming down off the Atlas mountains. We enjoyed excellent sailing with 15 knots of wind in dead flat seas with full mainsail and masthead kite. Wind was gusting up over 20 knots and we were achieving very good boat speeds. But it requires all hands on deck as if anything were to go wrong, one person couldn't handle it themselves.

"Then in the early hours of this morning the wind picked up the the expected 20 knots plus and we put a reef in the main and changed to the smaller kite. Wind continued to build and we enjoyed some really amazing surfing achieving record boat speeds over over 19 knots. Then, disaster! A particularly steep wave swung the boat round into the wind into what is known as a broach and we ended up shredding our precious fractional kite. We don't think it is really repairable in a sail loft let alone on board. Not naming any names, but Mr T owes me a sail!”

The fun and games continue on the high seas. The next tactical obstacle being the Canary Islands. It’s expected that the first boat will pass through the islands in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Leaderboard at 18:20 UTC Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Desafio Cabo de Hornos - distance to finish 5751 nautical miles
Beluga Racer - distance to finish 5752 nautical miles
Roaring Forty - distance to finish 5753 nautical miles
Team Mowgli - distance to finish 5828 nautical miles
Hayai - distance to finish 5829 nautical miles
Kazimir Partners - distance to finish 5830 nautical miles

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