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Race 2: Hundred Years Cup - Final Teams arrive in Punta Del Este

by Clipper Round the World Race 15 Oct 2023 19:52 BST

After a tricky run into Punta del Este, with the second half of the fleet getting stuck in a troublesome wind hole just off the coast of Uruguay, the final teams have now docked in the marina and are enjoying some well-deserved celebrations and rest.

Washington, DC arrived in seventh place, with Skipper Hannah Brewis, and AQP Cameron McCracken leading the team on its first Atlantic crossing. There was lots of hugs on board as the team looked forward to celebrations after 28 days at sea.

On arrival into port, Hannah said "We are very happy to get here - it's been quite the journey! It's taken a long time and the past few days have been absolutely brutal, a hard way to end the race. So, to be here feels very nice!

"Only Cam and I, and one other crew member have crossed an ocean before, everyone else has not. So, for them to do this is such an amazing achievement and it was pretty special to lead them across the line. I'm so proud of them, the ups and downs that we've had, and all the different weather, we've been tired, we've been happy - all of things."

In what seems to be a theme on the race so far, Washington, DC had a number of neck and neck moments with UNICEF over the past few days as they closed in on the Finish Line.

Hannah added "We love UNICEF, they are an amazing boat! We crossed each other yesterday and we have been with them ever since. It's amazing that we've sailed over 5,000 miles and today we crossed each other by about 100m. It was crazy to be so close after so long at sea. It's nice to have them there, and for me and Cam to contact the Skippers, discuss our woes and triumphs.

"And obviously, we pipped them at the end which was great! A shame for them, but I'll be giving them a massive hug when they get in."

Round the world crew member on Washington, DC, Liz DiCesare, said "What a wonderful race. It was a longer leg, so a lot of challenges, but really rewarding. It's been a long wait, and a long day, so we're looking forward to celebrating."

And UNICEF arrived shortly after, taking the eighth spot in Race 2: Hundred Years Cup.

Speaking from the pontoon, Skipper Dan Bodey said: "It's been a phenomenal time for the crew to learn new skills. I'm so proud of the team and how they have pulled together."

UNICEF crew member Elisa Reiterer added "Apparently, we just crossed the Atlantic Ocean the long way round! It feels surreal, amazing, I am lost for words.

"It's amazing how you take a bunch of random people, chuck them together in a strange environment and somehow everybody will get along. Then you get off almost 6,000 miles later and it's just one big family that comes out at the end of it."

Big smile of achievement from George Coldham, Round-the-Worlder, UNICEF, following his first ocean crossing

After a patient wait for the north easterly wind to push them along for the final stretch, it was Bekezela who arrived in ninth place to a beautiful sunrise in Punta del Este.

A race that hasn't been without its challenges for Bekezela, with an early diversion to the Cape Verdes, the team fought hard to get back amongst the pack.

Skipper David Hartshorn said: "I'm feeling quite emotional really. The race we have just had was quite a long one. We were lucky with the weather which was pretty awesome for us. We didn't get the transition that the lead boats had on the first transition. We actually spent 1,600 miles on one tack, close reaching, which is just absolutely brilliant - Champagne sailing really!

"That was until two days ago, when we had pulled back from our detour, we fought back, caught the fleet up, got into ninth position, dropped back to eleventh, and then today came back into ninth. So, I'm really proud of the crew. They have done an amazing job; you would not recognise their ability compared to when we left Portsmouth just over a month ago."

Bekezela Circumnavigator, Brian Wilkinson, is following in his son's footsteps after he competed in the race in 2017-18. Brian said "I am just a novice sailor; it's been quite a baptism of fire! These people I didn't know five or six weeks ago, but you just bond together, you rely on each other, you depend on each other. It's such a unifying experience."

Sailing into port in tenth place, but with a yacht full of smiles for the massive achievement of crossing a major ocean, was Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam.

Talking about the race, Skipper Josh Stickland said "I'm really proud of the team, it's been an adventure, most certainly! There's been highs, lows, but they've learnt a lot, it's been good preparation for Leg 2. Enthusiasm creates enthusiasm, so we just keep smiling. So, we've just got to carry on!"

Returning to the race to circumnavigate after completing Leg 6 on the 2017-18 edition is Eric Froggatt. Eric said "Leg 1 is very different to Leg 6! Very cold, very hot, very cold, going really well, and then you just stop. You have to pick yourself up a lot of times. You have to pull together and work together."

Qingdao was the final team to arrive in port after an epic ocean voyage. The team took the decision to accept eleventh position. The decision was based on the extremely light winds into Punta del Este on the final day of racing.

Qingdao Race Skipper, Greg Hunt said on arrival: "My team has done fantastic in crossing an ocean, for all of them it was the first time they crossed the Equator. We had ups and downs, but some amazing sailing. It was really interesting to see the team grow. By the second week at sea they were sailing really well.

"We had some really nice surfing conditions. A few days ago we cracked 22.6 knots on the boat which is our top speed since the start of the race, which was an amazing feeling."

Ziqi Wang, the round the world Qingdao Ambassador said: "We did a good job! This is my first ocean, and crossing the Equator was quite amazing- we saw shooting stars and flying fish, storms, squalls, everything."

"I broke the speed record on our yacht sailing downwind! I learnt a lot, sailing under spinnaker, surfing down waves- it's been amazing."

All teams are now in Punta del Este, enjoying the sunshine, celebratory beers and a jam-packed stopover of activities and Uruguayan hospitality over the next week.

To find out more about the stopover, click here.

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