Sonntag, 14. Dezember 2008

BELUGA RACER - Start in Kapstadt: They’re off - next stop Wellington

Nach einem Tag Startverschiebung, um einem besonders herrischen Cape Doctor zu entgehen, machte sich die Flotte des Portimao Global Ocean Race auf den Weg nach Wellington/Neuseeland. Boris und Felix mischen wieder vorne mit, nach ihrem letzten Etappensieg haben sie ihren Anspruch auf die Favoritenrolle etabliert. Die Berichte über die beiden gehen bei Lobster One im Original in den Äther, deshalb gibt es hier Brian Hancocks Text auf Englisch:

Dezember 14, 2008
With a heavy cloud shrouding Table Mountain the six boats participating in the Portimão Global Ocean Race set off on their 7,900 nautical mile voyage to Wellington, New Zealand. Executive Deputy Mayor, Cllr Grant Haskin fired the start gun and seconds later Michel Kleinjans aboard Roaring Forty crossed the line, sails sheeted in tight and wide grin plastered on his face. Moments later the German team of Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme on Beluga Racer crossed followed closely by Nico Budel aboard Hayai. The wind, a steady northerly, made for an upwind beat to the first obligatory mark, Fairway buoy No 2 off Sea Point.

The fleet immediately split tacks with Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson aboard Team Mowgli heading offshore toward Robben Island, and Kleinjans on Roaring Forty choosing instead to head for land hoping to pick up a nice lift off the wind bending around Signal Hill. The rest of the fleet chose a middle ground with Beluga Racer and Desafio Cabo de Hornos already locked in a neck and neck match race, the German yacht slightly ahead of the Chilean team of Felipe Cubillos and José Muñoz.
A large spectator fleet was on hand to watch the boats tussle their way out of Table Bay. The entire racing fleet for the Crock’s Regatta, a local regatta also taking place this weekend, was on hand to give the Portimão racers a rousing send-off with local sailors Peter and Lenjohn van der Wel surrounded by well-wishers waving and cheering. Earlier in the day it was an emotional scene at the Royal Cape Yacht Club as hundreds of cheering people gave each yacht a fitting send-off. The fog slowly lifted and by the time all the boats were away from the dock there were peeks of blue sky forcing their way between dark rain clouds.
Forty minutes into the leg it was clear that Michel Kleinjans was once again going to show the rest of the fleet how to sail. He sailed right up to the land, tacked over in front of the new stadium being built for the 2010 soccer World Cup, and picked up a massive lift. As the offshore yachts converged off Sea Point Kleinjans was clearly in the lead and at the first poll at 13:20 UTC he was .2 of a mile ahead of the second place Beluga Racer. Two hours into the race less than half a mile separated Kleinjans from the back-markers Desafio Cabo de Hornos and Hayai.
As the boats round Sea Point and sail past Cape Town’s famous Clifton Beach, the skippers will be able to ease sheets and enjoy some fast sailing. The forecast for the next 24 hours looks good as the wind will slowly back first into the west then into the southwest giving them all a clean getaway from land.

Text und Fotos: Brian Hancock