Yacht Club Punta del Este wins race into home port

12 October 2023

Yacht Club Punta del Este has been crowned the winning team of Race 2: Hundred Years Cup. The Uruguayan team entry representing the Yacht Club Punta del Este triumphantly sailed into its home port having taken the win of the 5,300-mile race across the Atlantic from Puerto Sherry to Uruguay.

Image: The YCPE team

Marking the first major ocean crossing of the circumnavigation, the North to South Atlantic passage – which has taken the team over 26 days - is notorious for its testing and varied conditions and can challenge even the most experienced of sailors.

At the helm is 33-year-old Uruguayan Race Skipper Nano Antia Bernardez, who this evening has made an emotional homecoming into Punta del Este. Raised in the town, Nano said that sailing was part of his city’s blood – and part of his, too.

Image: Nano Antia Bernardez

Nano, alongside First Mate Angus Whitehead, has navigated the route with tactics, nerve and skill, determined from the off to be the first to cross the Finish Line.

Before the race began, Nano said “It is so special to be in this race representing my own hometown. Knowing that my family, and all my nieces and nephews are going to be there, it's really emotional. It gets under my skin just thinking about it.

“The motivation of representing Yacht Club Punta del Este, while sailing to my home, it's just going to be such a boost to our energy, it’s going to be amazing.”

Nano, Angus and the Yacht Club Punta del Este team arrived in Punta del Este to huge crowds of locals, supporters and members of the city’s yacht club, lining the breakwater and cheering in the hometown heroes.

Image: Nano and Commodore of the YCPE, Juan Etcheverrito

Congratulating the team on its win, Juan Etcheverrito, Commodore of Yacht Club Punta del Este said “We couldn’t ask for more! What an entrance, a 100 years one! We are so happy; we are lost for words. VAMOS!”

As he arrived into port, Nano said: “Every day, the crew have been pushing their limits, getting out of their comfort zones. I’ve been teaching them the details, and they are a really, really special crew. We have kept the pressure on from Puerto Sherry to Cape Verde, across the Atlantic and then all the way to here!

“The other teams made me so nervous! I felt a lot of pressure sometimes, as I thought they were going to take out my dream! But I have so much respect for Perseverance, they were racing so well and really going for it. It is really amazing having super competitive teams around, it’s making the race so enjoyable.”

Image: YCPE's arrival

Nano has sailed into his hometown three times on the Clipper Race, as crew twice, and now as a Skipper. He said: “I wanted to arrive fast! Arriving into Punta the first time [2017-18 edition] was the first time I had done an ocean crossing, and now as a Skipper and the winner of this race- just seeing my crew enjoying themselves, that is all that I needed. To see so many people waiting here to give me a hug was amazing. I feel privileged to have so many friends here.”

Speaking ahead of the team’s arrival, Clipper Race Director Mark Light said “Nano joined the Clipper Race about seven years ago, and it was where he pretty much learnt to sail. He joined the 2017-18 edition as crew, and I knew from the minute he turned up to training he had the mentality of ‘if I’m going to take on this race, I’m going to take on the whole thing’.

“At that point he became the first Uruguayan to circumnavigate with the Clipper Race, and everyone knew he was really standing out, he had the desire to go further. Nano excels with his energy, his resilience and his ability to get on with people, and to motivate and lead.

“A very well earnt win on the racetrack, and we’re glad to have him on board as one of our Skippers.”

Image: Clipper Race crew celebrate their win

Yacht Club Punta del Este topped the leaderboard after Race 1, where it placed second but scooped three extra points for being the only team to tackle the Scoring Gate. The team has now maintained its place at the top after being the first to cross the line into Punta del Este and picking up an extra point earlier in Race 2 when it placed third in the Scoring Gate.

Image: YCPE arrives into Punta del Este with Nano on the bow holding a flare

It’s now a waiting game to see if the team can push further into the lead when the results of the Ocean Sprint are announced on Monday (16 October) at the Race 2: Hundred Years Cup Prizegiving ceremony.

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