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Evrika and White Shadow finish McIntyre OGR Leg 3

by Ocean Globe Race 22 Feb 00:09 UTC
22 February 2024

Suitably stunning sunset arrival for Swan 65 Evrika – Ocean Globe Race © OGR2023 / Jacqueline Kavanagh

Finally! Evrika and White Shadow Arrive in Frustratingly Fickle Finish

In the dusky evening light, skipper Dominique Dubois helmed the impressive Swan 65, Evrika FR (07) across the Punta del Este finish line in 12 knots winds at 22.42 UTC, after 37 days at sea. The French crew, composed of close family and friends, looked as relaxed as they have done throughout the notorious Cape Horn leg – their onboard footage at times resembling a Mediterranean cruise such was the convivial atmosphere.

Despite this, they were obviously delighted to have finally arrived after a challenging final few days of light winds which slowed their progress, seeing them at times parked outside Punta del Este. This, combined with a broken mast that required maintenance after Cape Horn meant they struggled to maintain speed. The immaculately maintained ketch had initially kept pace with the fleet for the first half of Leg 3, but gradually continued to slip back. They now sit provisionally 9th in line honours and 10th in IRC rankings. But nothing could stop Dominique from smiling as he crossed the line and achieved his dream of passing Cape Horn. As he has said on many occasions he really is ‘living the dream’.

“It was very long and last night we had the fight with White Shadow! We crossed them within 200 meters of each other. We broke our boom after Cape Horn, so for three weeks we had to go very slowly and we saw everyone going ahead, it was terrible. The Pacific was easy, no big storms, but the Indian Ocean was hard. After Cape Horn, wow – it was long and hard. Yes, I’m tired. Last night I spent the whole night on the helm to pass White Shadow and today there were light winds too. But we’re here, finally, which is great.” – DOMINIQUE DUBOIS, SKIPPER OF EVRIKA.

White Shadow, the Spanish Swan 57, skippered by the equally exuberant Jean-Christophe Petit drifted across the line at 07:09 UTC without a forestay, but luckily with a mast after 38 days at sea. It could well be argued that the last 3 days, in fact, the last three hours, felt longer than those 38 days combined as the lack of wind halted their process. Under a stunning moonlight sky, even the current was fighting against the popular crew, who were evidently exhausted after their epic adventure.

They crossed the line with a catastrophically reefed, handkerchief-sized mainsail after their forestay broke last week, sending it flying into the air and shredding their mainsail. This meant very conservative sailing for the final couple of weeks carefully managing to keep the mast up.

“The forestay broke and went flying up – it was like a cutter swinging from side to side and destroyed everything. The yankee is destroyed and then it cuts the mainsail, but fortunately below the fourth reef. It’s a little sad for the race because we were well-positioned but we thought. One, let’s save the mast and two let’s reach Punta. We passed Cape Horn in 60 knots, that’s a big thing, a serious thing, but it was just great. Amazing in fact. Now we have some major repairs to do but we are here and happy.” – Jean-Christophe Petit, skipper of White Shadow.

Speaking of their final approach, more than one crew member, in-between their singing, smiling and hugs, mentioned – “it felt like we were so near and yet so far!”

They are not the first crew to say that about the approach to Punta del Este.

Meanwhile, the final two yachts in the fleet continue to race each, battle headwinds or simply no wind. At the time of writing Explorer AU (28) was just 75 nm behind Sterna SA (42).

Melissa, first mate on Sterna, reported they’d been sitting in fog for two days – just another curve ball to throw into the mix! Listen to the full conversation below:

“Perpetual state of two much wind and then not enuf. Only dehydrated food left is sweet potato & butternut. May the odds forever be in our favour.” tweeted Sterna. Listen to the full conversation click here.

But, what is extra interesting is now, Translated 9 ITL (09) the fabulous Swan 65, which diverted last week to the Falklands Island to repair cracks in the hull, is now back in the water after being lifted out to seal the cracks, is now planning on taking on Explorer and Sterna in a race within a race!

Despite being out of the rankings for Leg 3, the Translated 9 crew clearly haven’t relented on their natural desire to race!

Skipper Marco Trombetti is indeed very eager to get to Punta del Este in time to start leg 4, Punta del Este to Cowes, UK on March 5th.

“Great progress on Translated 9. After days of tireless work on our beloved Swan 65, she has now been lowered into the water. She floats. In two days, our outstanding crew will finish preparing her for the transfer to Uruguay; we are reinstalling the mast and rigging the sails. During the voyage, we will test the boat in the ocean. This marks the final challenge in the repair process: testing her solidity. Once we arrive in Punta del Este, we’ll lift her out of the water again and double-check her condition. By the first days of March, we will know if we are good to go. If, upon inspection in Punta, we receive confirmation that Translated 9 is ready to face the ocean, we will not only complete the race but also strive to win it. We are deeply grateful for the tremendous support we have received from people all around the world, especially in the Falkland Islands – Malvinas, who have contributed their skills and hearts to assist us.” – Marco Trombetti, Co-Skipper of Translated 9.

The eight yachts docked in Punta del Este continue with their long maintenance lists after many taking a Cape Horn beating.

Max de Montgolfier racing onboard Leg 3 IRC winner Triana FR (66) explained what’s going to keep their crew busy over the coming days.

“We’ve had a great welcome from everyone in Punta del Este which is amazing. Since we got here we’ve been cleaning the boat, which has taken a fair bit of time – so it’s not so smelly anymore. Yesterday we were taking sails off onto the dock and checking everything and now we’ve discovered a loose bolt on the rudder so for safety we are taking the boat out of the water to Piriápolis to see what work needs to be done. So we are busy.” – Max De Montgolfier, Crew of Triana FR (66).

Appropriately, the lift that will be used was actually donated to Uruguay by the Whitbread Round the World Race, and paid for by their sponsor Long Johns – who luckily had no use for it themselves.

The 1985 Whitbread winners also might struggle to find the time to top up their tans with the challenges they are facing. But they have proved they are certainly the crew to rise to the challenge.

“We have problems with the mast cables, in fact we need to change five cables. And it’s a logistical problem as the cable is coming from France and we don’t know if it will get here in time. So, we are contacting a factory here that can make the cable – if it doesn’t arrive, we have another solution. We can’t leave unless we get the new cables rigged. For five days before we arrived, we kept checking the mast to see if it was still up!!!!” – Pierre-Yves Cavan, first mate of L’Esprit D’Équipe.

Meanwhile, the crew of Galiana WithSecure FI (06) are occupied hunting down some safety gear that washed overboard during a squall, including the horseshoe buoy. And of course, they are investigating their engine issue – which refused to start when they came into dock.

Ian Herbert-Jones first mate from Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) says they are in pretty good shape apart from the usual way and tear and yacht goes through while sailing around the world.

“We’re better than we were when we arrived in Auckland, so it’s only routine maintenance. But as everyone knows we are a sailing boat and our sails are now 20,000 miles old so we’ve got sail repair to do. Things are beginning to wear out. We might need a new inverter, but in general, we’re in a pretty good place.” – Ian Herbert-Jones, first mate of Spirit of Helsinki.

Fixing the J4 and J5 on Outlaw AU (08) is just one of the challenges for the crew, explained first mate Rinze Vallinga.

“One of the issues is the cringle at the tack of the mainsail has come loose. It has worn and totally cut through so we need to fix that too. Apart from some other minor damage, we are in pretty good shape.”- Rinze Vallinga, first mate of Outlaw.

And in between the maintenance and repairs, the crews are still finding the time to share their Leg 3 stories – and boy are there some hair-raising tales – stand by to hear everything about them!

Race starts Leg 4 March 5th Punta del Este to Cowes, UK.

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