Icebergs spotted on the Global Ocean Race

Further Southern Ocean dangers for the doublehanded crews

Thursday February 16th 2012, Author: Ollie Dewar, Location: none selected

Late on Wednesday night GMT, as Phesheya-Racing crossed the bluQube Scoring Gate in the mid-Pacific, down in the ocean’s southeastern section at 56°S, 1,300 miles due west of Cape Horn, the first visual confirmation of icebergs was logged by Conrad Colman and Adrian Kuttel on the leading Global Ocean Race Class40, Cessna Citation.

While Cessna Citation continued close combat with Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon on Financial Crisis, a brief email from Conrad Colman sent to the GOR Race Organisation, and the Kiwi-South African team’s two adversaries still racing in Leg 3, warned of ‘two largish icebergs’ at 55.47°S/106.12°W just before nightfall in the Southern Ocean. The visual confirmation of ice is a stark reminder to remain vigilant as the fleet pass beyond a known area of ice identified by the GOR Race Committee before the start of Leg 3 in Wellington 18 days ago and indicates the continued eastwards drift of the Southern Ocean bergs below the Leg 3 scoring gate.

Meanwhile, Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire were fully-focussed in crossing the bluQube Scoring Gate in violent rain squalls, gusts of over 46 knots and seas in excess of five metres; conditions that prevented the duo flying their bright red, bluQube branded A6 spinnaker to celebrate the moment: “The squalls heralded the arrival of a cold front and the wind quickly backed towards the west, necessitating a gybe,” reported Hutton-Squire as Phesheya-Racing switched onto starboard and dropped south. “With the arrival of the front the temperature has begun to drop quite noticeably and as the sun sets the temperature is now below 12 degrees,” she adds. “At the same time, the seawater temperature is beginning to fall as well and as tough as it has been to get here, we would like to thank bluQube for the part that they have played in our campaign to race around the world!”

With 3,400 miles of Leg 3 from Wellington to Punta del Este remaining, the South Africans have been monitoring supplies on board: “Now well past halfway between New Zealand and Cape Horn, we have been taking stock of our remaining provisions,” confirms Hutton-Squire. “All the fresh food is finished now and we are relying on the packets of ready meals and freeze-dried meals.” They have also finished the minimum required 103 litres of fresh drinking water the race rules stipulate for Leg 3. “How it is used is up to the crews of each boat, but we have steadily worked through ours, using it for drinking and cooking,” she continues. “Today, we finally finished the last of it and are now relying on our watermaker to provide us with sufficient for our needs.” At 15:00GMT on Thursday, Phesheya-Racing was making 8.8 knots as the South Africans drop below 50S, 838 miles behind the leading Class40.

Throughout Wednesday and into Thursday, Cessna Citation and Financial Crisis kept close with the distance deficit between the two Class40s rarely moving into double figures as both boats continued to beat east with Nannini and Ramon furthest south, 50 miles below Cessna Citation. By 15:00 GMT position poll on Wednesday, Colman and Kuttel had pulled out a 15-mile lead over Nannini and Ramon with the prospect of 24 hours of headwinds as the two boats push further into the 5,000-metre deep Mornington Abyssal Plain at the bottom of the planet.

GOR leaderboard 15:00 GMT 16/2/12:
1. Cessna Citation: DTF 2529 7.5kts
2. Financial Crisis: DTL 15 6.1kts
3. Phesheya-Racing: DTL 838 8.8kts
Buckley systems RTD Leg 3
Campagne de France RTD Leg 3

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