Southern Ocean Racing Legs 3 and 4

Southern Ocean

Note: if you followed the above link – we were prohibited by Clipper on going south of 45 degrees latitude.

It has been a while since my last posting which I can only apologize for with excuses. In Fremantle I had very little free time after the required deep clean and boat maintenance and I was exhausted from the first of the two Southern Ocean legs.

Here in Airlie Beach our shore time was also short and It is only now that we have an extra unplanned extra free day that affords me the time and good internet bandwidth to make this post.

So we have now completed the crossing of the Southern Ocean in legs 3 and 4 races first from Cape Town in South Africa to Fremantle in Western Australia and secondly from Fremantle south around Australia and up the eastern side of the continent to the Whitsundays in Queensland on the north east Australian coast.

It was just Team Sanya and Team Punte Del Este sailing out of Cape Town after our collision repairs were finally completed there. Both yachts put in a super effort to race quickly across the Southern Ocean to rejoin the fleet in Fremantle, Western Australia. But we only managed to arrive somewhat close to the planned leg 4 departure date from Fremantle. Team Unicef was also a very late arrival to Fremantle due their leg 3 reroute to Durbin South Africa to med-evac an ailing crew member who was suffering Appendicitis.

Punte Del Este and Sanya left Cape Town together motoring south through the first night south and actually started our “Ceremonial” match the following morning with a Lemans start. Sanya had already accepted that we would get no points for this race due to our fault in the collision prior. Punte had already collected “duress” points for this race.

We quickly got into the Southern Ocean and had high winds, monster waves and cold for days on end. The Southern Ocean has been prescribed as relentless and I can now attest to that as an accurate adjective.

In the end we did get a break from the conditions to some days out of Fremantle and we actually opted to motor in the remaining light winds to make up time.

Completing deep clean, boat maintenance and re-provisioning quickly in Fremantle would have given the three late boats very little free time before starting another Southern Ocean crossing for Leg 4. The new plan from Clipper was for 8 boats to start on time as planned and the three laggers would start exactly two days later with all scoring done on total elapsed time for each boat. So we started Leg 4 on Christmas Eve. We found ourselves again deep in the Southern Ocean and the comment from Seumas using one of the New Years end evolutions was to the nature of happily reefing in the new year!”

In leg 4 we initially did very well and were able to capture 2 points for the scoring gate and later collected additional 3 points for the ocean sprint having completed that about 8 hours faster than any other boat. In the late stages of the race into the Whitsundays we made a tactical decision to sail near the coast to avoid contrary currents. This decision turned out to be flawed and we were stuck for days in light airs with current not so favorable and at times the best we could do was go sideways to the necessary track into Airlie Beach. We ultimately were forced to accept last place and motor to the finish. Just days prior to turning on the engine we were sweet enough as to be expecting a podium finish. So goes yacht racing!

Half of the eight legs but somewhat less than half of the ocean miles are complete. Wow! One highlight for me particularly on these last two legs was helming the fastest times on team Sanya. – leg 3: 27.5 knots surfing and on leg 4: 20.2 knots surfing. What a rush!

Sunset after leaning Cape Town deceiving us of the tough times ahead.

Sue poking head out to get a weather report. Don’t let the sunny skies fool you as it is cold and a rogue wave could crash over any moment turning the cockpit into a wading pool!

Takes One person to helm and two others standing close by for logistical and morale support.

Rick checking the time – when can we finally end our watch and get below to warm up?

Bruce has spotted something?

Barry looking resolute as ever,

Ashfin and Lisa in the galley and the food always served up in dog bowls.

That’s me taking a rare selfie.

Fred looking happy. Being from Sweden the cold does not phase him?

Helms person plus afterguard.

Spoksey and Barry looking up at the sail trim.

Get tough guys!

2 thoughts on “Southern Ocean Racing Legs 3 and 4

  1. Great read ! Thanks for taking the time to share this Rick as this is a once in a lifetime experience!!! Sail safe 🙂 makes Ironman look like a walk in the park … literally 🙂 Lou


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