Global Ocean Race fourth leg delayed

Container issues force Punta del Este departure to be put forward by a day

Sunday April 1st 2012, Author: Ollie Dewar, Location: Uruguay

Due the unavoidable delay in arrival of the Global Ocean Race 40ft shipping container carrying spare sails and vital supplies for the Class40 teams, the Leg 4 start from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Charleston, USA, has been postponed by one day to Monday 2 April at 1500.

While the leading GOR Class40, Cessna Citation, took just under 32 days to race the 6,700 mile Leg 3 from Wellington, New Zealand, through the Pacific, around Cape Horn and through the South Atlantic to Uruguay, the event’s 40ft shipping container carrying Race Organisation equipment and tools, hardware, spare sails and freeze dried food for the Class40 teams has not made such swift progress.

Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR, explains: “Global shipping has been heavily impacted by the current financial crisis in terms of the number of ships sailing and the routes taken around the planet,” says Hall. “Escalating fuel prices for ships and trucks has also contributed to reducing the number of commercial vessels available and the flexibility of the routes between ports.”

The GOR’s shipping container left New Zealand shortly after the GOR fleet entered the Pacific Ocean and was bound for Singapore, Cape Town and the Uruguayan port of Montevideo, 50 miles west of Punta del Este. “While this is a setback in terms of the start date, our shipping partner, Peters & May; the Yacht Club Punta del Este and the Uruguayan Ministry of Tourism have been superb in ensuring that customs clearance and transhipment by truck from Montevideo to the waterfront here in Punta is as swift as possible. We particularly would like to thank Steve Franklyn at Peters & May who has worked tirelessly to sort this issue out,” comments Hall.

Having consulted with the GOR teams, the GOR Race Organisation found that shifting the Leg 4 start to 15:00 local (19:00 UTC) on Monday was acceptable. The location of the start line will remain the same off the breakwater of Puerto Punta del Este with the committee boat and start line managed by the team from the Yacht Club Punta del Este.

With three days remaining to the start of the event’s penultimate leg, the Yacht Club Punta del Este (YCPE) hosted a ‘Farewell Party’ on the club’s waterfront balcony overlooking the four Class40s moored stern-to in the Puerto Punta del Este on Friday evening. However, the cocktail party was a brief break in the final pre-race preparations for the four teams and the tactically challenging 5,700 miles ahead. The GOR’s Race Ambassador, round-the-world yachtswoman, Dee Caffari has been looking forward to the course from Uruguay to Charleston: “This leg will see the fleet negotiate the Brazilian coastline with its unpredictable weather and intense and often unlit fishing fleet,” cautions Caffari.

Having crossed the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate off the North East corner of Brazil, the fleet have a potential barrier before reaching the Trade Winds: “Approaching the Doldrums will test the nerve of the sailors as they line themselves up for the smoothest and quickest Doldrums crossing possible,” continues Dee. “Then, as they think they are getting close to the finish line, they will have to cross the Gulf Stream, so the research and preparations they have done now will pay dividends in the final stretches of this leg.”

Following the fleet’s extended racing below 50S in Leg 3, the Punta del Este stopover has been vital for the teams. “There is no doubt about the harsh conditions of the Southern Ocean the fleet encountered in the last leg,” says Dee. “Those yachts that made it to Uruguay did a remarkable job and I hope they have all had the chance to catch up on the jobs list, re-charge their own batteries and are raring to go and it is great to see Nico back and the Dutch entry ready on board Sec Hayai at the start line once again,” she adds. “On the plus side of this leg, the weather will get warmer and there will be a chance for the thermals to be put away and the shorts worn again,” advises Caffari. “I just hope they don’t forget the sunscreen!”

GOR crew list for Leg 4 from Punta del Este to Charleston:

Cessna Citation: Conrad Colman (NZL)/Scott Cavanough (AUS)
Financial Crisis: Marco Nannini (ITA) and Sergio Frattaruolo (ITA)
Phesheya-Racing: Nick Leggatt (RSA) and Phillippa Hutton-Squire (RSA)
Sec. Hayai: Nico Budel (NDL) and Erik van Vuuren (NDL)
Buckley Systems: RTD
Campagne de France: DNS

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