Race 4 Day 26: High Winds and High Spirits

13 December 2019

Race 4: The Marlow Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride continues for the trio of teams who are eagerly anticipating being reunited with the rest of the fleet in Fremantle. The experience for the three crossing the Southern Ocean has offered a fine example of how unpredictable ocean racing can be, and reports from the Skippers show spirits remain high as they enjoy some fantastic sailing conditions.

The wind has picked up for the teams competing for the Roaring Forties Match Race Trophy. Visit Sanya, China’s Skipper Seumas Kellock reports: “The good ship Visit Sanya, China is powered up and flying along averaging speeds of 11 knots straight to Fremantle!

“Things are good on board, morale is high and we’re looking forward to our short stop in Fremantle.”

Sail maintenance

There are vital points available for Punta del Este as they enter the Dell Latitude Ocean Sprint, and Skipper Jeronimo Santos-Gonzalez, is determined to add three to their tally, saying: “We have won two of the ocean sprints from the last three races, and we are intending to win this ocean sprint for Race 4. The boat is in good shape; sails and systems working properly, crew focused on the game and lots of hunger for doing well after some recent unlucky incidents, we need those three points.”

I asked the wind to be kind to us, and it has delivered a wonderful 24 knots of wind speed with a good sailing angle. The challenge is, the rest of the fleet have crossed the gate a week earlier at really high speeds and biting their ocean sprint crossing times won't be easy, but make not mistake, Punta del Este is determined to do it.”

Due to light winds, flogging sails and the need to arrive into Fremantle in good time, Unicef has now accepted ninth place and switched on its engine. Unicef will most likely motor-sail for at least 24 hrs which will mean that it cannot enter the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint. The current ETAs into Fremantle show that Unicef is estimated to arrive on the morning of 20 December.

Skipper of Unicef, Ian Wiggin remains upbeat and reports: “We continue to enjoy each day at sea. We continue to enjoy the relationships, the rotation of the stars, giant whales (like the ones that flanked us this afternoon), and just the simplicity. There are many magical things about being out here, and we look forward to waking up, not knowing what excitement the day may bring.”

Keep an eye on the Race Viewer as the trio experience their final days at sea and updated ETAs can be viewed here.

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