The McIntyre Ocean Globe fleet is pushing through the soft ‘Furious Fifties’ and the crews continue to embrace the ride, loving every minute. 50 degrees South is proving a lot less furious than expected. Yes, they’ve experienced 30 knots winds, gusting to 40 at times, with 6-meter waves and bone-chilling salty spray soaking their foulies. But there’s no doubt that a few are starting to question whether the Southern Ocean is, well, dare we say it, as challenging as its terrifying reputation. As we’ve said before – be VERY careful what you wish for. Cape Horn and all its surprises are still to come, but so far for the past 3000 miles and like the whole Indian Southern Ocean of leg two, the sailing is almost too easy! Cape Horn is 1500 miles away and the long-range forecast is not showing a huge storm?
Having successfully passed the second of Leg 3’s 50 degrees waypoint to starboard, the majority of the fleet dipped further South and continued to benefit from the perfect Easterly/South Easterly 20/25 knot winds, ticking 200 nm days off their charts. But, uncharacteristically it’s now not treacherous seas and storms that’s threatening speeds but a pesky high on the horizon.
Two weeks out from race start in Auckland (Sunday 14th) has witnessed a tightly packed fleet race in what was being described as ‘Champagne Sailing’, but the Flyer Class yachts have finally shown their teeth, taking the lead as they did in Leg 1 and 2. At the time of writing, the 73-foot French Ketch Pen Duick VI FR (14) skippered by Marie Tabarly led, JUST. They’re a couple of miles ahead of Translated 9 ITL (09) with Maiden UK (08) and Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) breathing down their stern and closing the gap on the two leaders. But lighter wind is now slowing the head of the fleet giving a chance for those bringing up the rear to take back some miles lost in the last few days.