Punta del Este has had a brilliant start to the race to its home port, with Skipper Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez and his crew showing early signs that the decision to play the Joker Card was a good one.

IMAGE: Punta del Este during the start of Race 2. See the Gallery for full selection.

Before all of the on the water action, the crew took time to reflect on what had been a sun-filled and happy stopover at the Marina de Portimão. There were plenty of happy faces as the teams slipped lines, and Peter Campbell from Seattle summed up the stopover by saying: “We have been really well looked after in Portimao. I think we were all ready for a little bit of TLC, not just us but the boats as well and it’s been a fabulous reception here.

IMAGE: Peter Campbell and his Seattle teammates.

“The Marina de Portimão has looked after us extremely well, it’s fabulous marina and great weather. I think everyone has managed to recharge their batteries and we are all now looking forward to seeing what Race 2 brings.”

Despite enjoying the R&R in Portugal, the feeling across the board was that everyone was keen to get back to life at sea. Susan Peart on GoToBermuda added: “Already from just the short journey from London to Portimão, I want more. It was hell on earth at times during Race 1 but when we were surfing, it was the most amazing feeling. I can’t put it into words, it was wow, I would love to do more of that. In Race 2 I am looking forward to seeing the stars, crossing an ocean and just being out there as it is just so far from my everyday life.”

IMAGE: Susan Peart and her GoToBermuda teammates.

After slipping, the fleet put on a brilliant show with a Parade of Sail up the Arade River. The eleven Clipper 70s were joined by dozens of other vessels, from yachts to dinghies, wind surfers to jet skis.

IMAGE: Parade of Sail ahead of Race 2 in Portimão.

It was a frenetic start to the race. Visit Sanya, China, was the first across the start line, followed closely by Punta del Este and WTC Logistics. But by the first mark, Punta del Este was in command. The team continued to extend their advantage and had built a significant lead by the end of the course.

WTC Logistics and Qingdao were the second and third teams to finish the course, with Qingdao also playing its Joker Card for Race 2: The Commodore’s Cup. Qingdao is second in the overall standings, just two points behind Punta del Este, meaning the competition between these two teams over the next 30 days will be fascinating to watch.

The race to Punta del Este is the second on the circumnavigation, with the teams having already raced 1,200 nautical miles from London to Portimão. Race 2 will see the crew battle the unpredictable conditions and heat of the Doldrums as they cross the Equator and then pick up the easterly trade winds on the way to South America.

The fleet is due to arrive in Punta del Este between Saturday 12 and Wednesday 16 October. For more information on the city that is known as the ‘St Tropez of South America’, see the Punta del Este Host Port Page.

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