High-stakes gambling in the South Atlantic

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Nick Leggatt stacking gear ready for stronger breeze – Photo Phesheya-Racing

As the winners of the double-handed, Class40 Global Ocean Race (GOR) Leg 1, BSL and second place Campagne de France, recovered in Cape Town from 7,000 miles of racing and adapt to life on land after 32 days at sea, the four boats in the fleet’s main pack were working round a high-pressure system centred 1,300 miles west of the finish line.

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In third place, leading the group, Conrad Colman and Hugo Ramon on the Akilaria RC2, Cessna Citation, were committed to their northern option 500 miles north of the high-pressure sailing in isolation and forced to tack away from the finish on starboard by the south-easterly breeze spinning off the top of the system, losing miles to Sec. Hayai, Financial Crisis and Phesheya-Racing positioned west of the system and further south.

On Saturday afternoon, the Dutch duo of Nico Budel and Ruud van Rijsewijk on Sec. Hayai were first to dig into the stronger breeze on the back edge of the system, picking up to 10 knots, but dropping back to sixth place behind the South African team of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire furthest south on Phesheya-Racing. By Saturday evening, Cessna Citation tacked back onto port and the New Zealand-Spanish team could finally point their bows at Cape Town while the chasing three boats were in reaching conditions as they slid south of the high and speed averages began to embed at 10 knots.

Meanwhile, Colman and Ramon were still hammered by headwinds: “It’s getting bouncy again!” confirmed Conrad Colman on Saturday as the duo celebrated their eighth day of upwind sailing since opting to head east. “I think we’ll take the prize, if there could ever be one, for the longest upwind beat in the history of Class40s!” At 06:00 GMT on Sunday, Cessna Citation was in around 14 knots of breeze making just under eight-knot averages as the trio to the south continued fast reaching. “I’m currently looking worriedly and somewhat enviously at our cousins to the south who have to surf for their lives if they are going get around the other side of this system before us.”

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