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Maiden takes second place in leg 3 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race

by Sal Hunter 16 Feb 13:50 GMT 16 February 2024
Maiden takes second place in leg 3 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race © The Maiden Factor

Maiden arrived safely in Punta Del Este just after midnight local time on the 16th January 2024 after 33 days at sea. It was a nail biting finish as they had been neck and neck with Spirit of Helsinki for the previous two days, sailing within sight of each other; at times there was only 1 mile separating them and as they approached the finish Helsinki was just in front keeping a close cover on Maiden.

Helsinki took the gun minutes before Maiden but all was not lost; Maiden had been given a 1 hour redress for turning round and going back to investigate what they thought was a life raft in the Southern Ocean, giving them a 16 minute lead over Helsinki and 2nd in line honours in leg 3 of the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. An incredibly close finish after 6,500 miles.

It was a tough and frustrating leg. The start in Auckland was the typical send off from the City of Sails with an armada of boats out to wish the fleet well. The boats dived South to try to get to the strong Westerly winds that should carry them round the Southern Ocean, but the strong breeze did not materialise, neither did the freezing conditions. The boats sailed along together in a procession and for the first time no clear leaders emerged.

As they navigated to the first of the waypoints, set to keep the boats out of the ice, Pen Duick VI and Translated 9 managed to sail round a light patch of wind and establish a commanding lead. The fast downwind, freezing conditions finally arrived as a South Westerly gale met them on the approach to Cape Horn. Translated 9 reported a knockdown while pushing hard in the 40 knot winds.

The boats turned north around the bottom of South America, to head up the coast to Uruguay. Shortly after passing the Falkland Islands Translated 9 noticed two cracks in their stern section; they decided it was too great a risk to continue and turned back to the Falklands to repair the boat, putting them out of the third leg of the race.

Two days of strong South westerlies gave the leaders a boost up the coast. Pen Duick VI maintained their lead and came in convincingly first. The battle for second place started with the headwinds that finally brought Maiden and Helsinki in to a warm, night time welcome from the people of Punta Del Este.

Neptune has kept up with the leaders throughout this leg and is due within the day; Triana should follow a day later, as always, punching above her weight as a considerably smaller yacht.

They have time now for some rest and boat maintenance before the restart on 5th March which will take them back to the Solent where they started 35,000 miles earlier in September 2023.

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