Pen Duick VI at the start of Leg 4 Punta del Este to Cowes - currently leading in line honours and IRC ranking for the leg. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023

Pen Duick VI at the start of Leg 4 Punta del Este to Cowes - currently leading in line honours and IRC ranking for the leg. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ OGR2023

Pen Duick VI set for Line Honours Leg 4 Ocean Globe Race


09/04/2024 - 08:48

As the end of the 2023 McIntyre Ocean Globe Race draws closer, the big question is who will win this historic 50th Anniversary celebration of the first-ever Whitbread Race? And the French are dominating. In leg 4, Pen Duick VI FR (14) looks set to take the double with line honours and IRC handicap. But the big news is little Triana FR (66) currently holding nearly a two-day lead overall for the coveted IRC Outright Winners position for all four legs of the OGR. Can they hold onto top spot eating just soup and flying fish each day as they head toward the finish line 1850 miles away and running out of food? If Jean D’Arthuys the skipper makes one wrong move Maiden is ready to move up, and then Pen Duick VI is just five hours behind them ready to jump.

In just days the first yacht crosses the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, UK finish line in the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. After a truly epic adventure, taking in the three Great Capes, Pen Duick VI FR (14) is expected on Friday 12th April. The former Whitbread 73-foot Bermudan Ketch, skippered by Marie Tabarly, has led for much of Leg Four, Punta del Este to Cowes, a leg that has proved challenging for the fleet thanks to unpredictable and fickle winds.

But it hasn’t all gone the legendary yacht’s way and his position has been challenged, with the 1985 Whitbread winner L’Esprit d’équipe retaking the coveted 1st in IRC position from Pen Duick VI earlier in the week. But Marie, and her determined crew have retaken 1st in IRC back again – at time of writing by just 18 minutes. But it’s certainly not over yet and anything can still happen between now and crossing the line.

L’Esprit d’équipe who has raced in three previous Whitbread races, now skippered by Lionel Regnier, is expected in Cowes approximately 48 hrs after Pen Duick VI – weather permitting. Despite being under pressure they continue to enjoy every minute.

“A perfect night on board, passage of a front, wind at 40 knots, rough seas, speed 10 knots, surf at 18 knots. The Azores passed in the early morning.” tweeted L’Esprit d’équipe.

After crossing the line the yachts will dock in Trinity Landing in Cowes for 48 hours.

Spirit of Helsinki FI (71), Neptune FR (56) and Maiden UK (03) continue to battle it out for line honours positions. Maiden has parked in a high-pressure system, which might well affect their chances of taking overall race IRC first-place ranking from Triana – who still hold a 34-hour lead at the time of writing.

“The boat we passed said wind would die at 6am, it is 6am, the wind died. Ah the highs and lows, literally.” tweeted Maiden, who have been frustrated with the lack of wind.

Meanwhile, Outlaw AU (08) had made up many miles over the weekend but dropped back after being caught once again in a dreaded wind hole. Just two nm separate Evrika FR (07) and Galiana WithSecure FI (06) on the distance to finish with Triana FR (66) continuing their efforts to remain with the pack just 24nm behind. Their performance might well be affected in the coming days due to hunger! A miscalculation in their provisioning means they are now surviving on soup and flying fish – and with almost 1850 nm still to go, they’re certainly going to be ready for a hearty meal on arrival.

“Rationing Day 1, one meal per day for summer body.” tweeted Triana.

While the South African yacht Sterna SA (42) has once again slowed to carry out essential repairs, costing them much-needed miles.

“Diagonal 2 Broken. Sheered off just above bottlescrew at spreader. All crew ok. Lots of Dyneema rigging plans afoot for daybreak. Don’t worry!” tweeted Sterna.

The Italian Swan 65 Translated 9 ITL (09) is due to arrive in Madeira Monday evening to complete essential repairs. On Friday a heavy broach in 50-knot gusts slammed them down, reopening previously repaired cracks in their hull around the rudder skeg, causing water ingress. They made the painful decision to retire from the leg and sail to Madeira where they will carry out the essential work. They then hope to continue the race and cross the finish line in Cowes.

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