HomeNEWSOcean Globe Race : Festive Finish into Auckland !

Ocean Globe Race : Festive Finish into Auckland !

Eleven in, Two to go in McIntyre Ocean Globe Race

  • Spinnaker and smiles as Spanish White Shadow ESP (17) crosses the finish line at 08:19 (NZLT) after 46 days, 7 hours, 19 minutes at sea.
  • Sterna SA (42) and Explorer AU (28) getting festive on the high seas.
  • Families fly in from around the world to spend holidays with crews in Auckland.
  • Two Legs down, two to go – including Cape Horn in Ocean Globe Race. RACE START LEG 3 (AUCKLAND TO PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY) JANUARY 14th!
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Christmas Champagne for White Shadow celebrating after 46 days at sea. Credit: OGR 2023 / Jacqueline Kavanagh

They may not be top of the fleet, but White Shadow ESP (17) could certainly be awarded first prize for the most entertaining arrival. Under a grey, cloudy Auckland sky the scene was brightened in Waitemata Harbour by the Swan 57’s billowing spinnaker, a spontaneous kitchen utensil musical performance and dance moves from the ecstatic crew. At 08:19 (NZLT), after 46 days, and 7 hours they crossed the New Zealand Yacht Squadron finish line heralding the final pre-Christmas OGR arrival in Jellicoe Harbour.

Not only were they the first OGR yacht to arrive under spinnaker, but also to use coffee pots and baking trays as instruments during their final approach. The international crew hailing from France, Argentina, Spain, and Italy certainly know how to ramp up an entrance.

After a painfully challenging final few days with fickle winds forcing slow progress around the notorious unpredictable Cape Reinga, it made frustrating Yellow Brick tracker viewing for the families eagerly awaiting their arrival. But they were determined to make it in time for the OGR Christmas party on the 23rd – which they did, with enough time to sleep and shower!

Skippered by Jean-Christophe Petit, White Shadow sits 11th on the leaderboard, provisionally 11th in IRC rankings and third in Sayula Class. Eleven of the 13 OGR yachts are already safely docked having completed Leg 2, Cape Town to Auckland, after what many of the fleet considered an easier-than-expected Southern Ocean experience. They have Cape Horn to face in Leg 3, so maybe they should be careful about what they wish for!

Jean-Christophe Petit was emotional as he stepped foot onto the Jellicoe Harbourpontoon.


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White Shadow crew, father and son, Jacques and Nico reunited with family who’ve flown in from the other side of the world for Christmas. Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh

Meanwhile, two yachts will be spending Christmas on the high seas. South African entrant Sterna SA (42) and the Australian Swan 57, Explorer AU (28). Both had to return to South Africa to carry out essential maintenance which disqualified them from Leg 2, however, they’ll continue racing in Leg 3, Auckland to Punta Del Este, Uruguay which starts January 14th.

But the resilient crews are making the most of their Christmas at sea – a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most. It’s Elvis Christmas carols on the cassette player on board Sterna which is not to everyone’s taste according to skipper Melissa Du Toit, but apart from musical choices, Christmas plans are going well.

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