AMHAS TAKES A HERCULEAN WIN IN MAURITIUS THAT WILL COLOUR THE HISTORY OF OFFSHORE RACING
After 35 days 10 hours 42 minutes and 42 seconds of racing, Craig Horsfield and Oliver Bond aboard Amhas took line honours in Mauritius in this the second and longest leg of the GLOBE40 round the world race. Crossing the finish line this Monday morning at 02 hours 42 minutes and 42 seconds (UTC), the Anglo-American crew was treated to a flamboyant finish in the vibrant colours of the Mauritian sunrise. Racing from Cape Verde in the North Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, via the doldrums, the equator, the Saint Helena High and the Cape of Good Hope at 38° South, the GLOBE40 sailors enjoyed an absolutely epic passage throughout the theoretical 7,667 (14,200 km) nautical mile course, which is sure to go down in the history of circumnavigations of the globe under sail.
“It was a long old trip to get to this stage, longer than we’d banked on before the start. We broke this hefty leg down into 4 chunks. Prior to setting sail, the leg seemed so daunting that we decided we had to deal with it one section at a time. The first 2-day chunk of the race was a short and fast passage through the Cape Verde archipelago. It was very enjoyable with some excellent sessions slipping along at pace. Over the second section, the South Atlantic and the Saint Helena High, an in-depth analysis of the strategy was necessary to negotiate this tricky passage. The third chunk, which took us around the tip of South Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, was physically tough as we encountered a difficult sea state and very cold temperatures at times. The final section in the Indian Ocean was very arduous too. We had thought that it was going to be the easiest part of the leg, but it was actually the toughest of them all,” revealed the two sailors after making landfall.
The Anglo-American skippers certainly secured victory with real flair. On the pace from the opening miles, they were rarely more than thirty miles astern of their Japanese rival and leader Milai as they dropped down the South Atlantic. Indeed, they continued to push hard despite the physical and mental strain of racing over such a long distance, together with the tough seas and weather conditions encountered along the way and a steady stream of technical glitches. Constantly hounding their rivals, the duo was poised to pounce as the Masa Suzuki and Andrea Fantini were forced to make a pit-stop in South Africa to effect major repairs. Moving up into the lead as the fleet rounded the Cape of Good Hope, they controlled their race to perfection, keeping the other boats astern of them all the way to the turquoise waters of Mauritius. Victory in this major coefficient 3 leg, means that the Class40 Amhas has moved up to the head of the overall ranking in this innovative round the world race.
“Our strategy essentially involved staying in contact with the front of the fleet. When we were offshore of Brazil, about to hang a left towards Cape Town, we wanted to be among the front runners. From there, our game plan was to get down to the South without incident and then launch onto a high-speed sprint across the Indian Ocean. In practice, we had to adapt our strategy somewhat. We accelerated a little more than planned in the South as we slugged it out with Milai. Next, once we’d moved up into the lead, we were able to manage our race according to what was happening out on the racetrack, altering our plans to preserve the boat as our rivals tried to catch us up. As such our road map evolved according to where we were at in the race. On two occasions we switched option to cover a fellow competitor, wasting half a day at one point just to get ourselves in a position which prevented them from overtaking us. It would have been quicker to plug away eastwards, but if we’d encountered a problem, they might have had an opportunity to snatch the win, so we decided to take that option out of the equation. That’s how we managed the finish, even though it meant that we sailed less quickly at times,” explained Craig and Oliver dockside. They were also keen to shine a spotlight on the excellent camaraderie amongst the competitors. “One of the highlights so far has been the great communication between the boats, especially between Masa (Milai) and Mélodie (Whiskey Jack), as they tried to resolve their technical issues. Despite the fierce competition, and even though we love doing battle out on the water, it’s great to share the experience. We love helping one another out. If a problem arises, if someone breaks something, everyone’s sorry for them.”
Posting another fantastic performance in this second leg, the Dutch pairing on Sec Hayai looks poised to secure second place in this leg on Tuesday 23 August.