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Maiden starts Ocean Globe Race Leg 4 - Uruguay to Cowes

by Sal Hunter 6 Mar 10:05 GMT 5 March 2024

It was far from plain sailing for some of the crews of the boats taking part in the Ocean Globe Race as they started their 4th and final leg from Punta Del Este, Uruguay to Cowes England.

During the long stop over the boats and crew needed much the same things, a good clean up, some routine maintenance, a bit of TLC and refuel. Punta provided all this very well.

The boats arrived at the start area to find 15 to 20 knots of breeze and a nasty steep sea, kicked up by wind over tide. Not long after the hard fought start, Maiden radioed race control to say that there was a Man Overboard situation involving Pen Duick VI. The person in the water was successfully retrieved and they continued on their way. Other boats were caught out by tidal and sea conditions as Explorer hit a navigation buoy then Evrika got pinned onto another one, with Trianna narrowly avoiding hitting Evrika during the incident.

At the start of a 6500 nm Leg drama is the last thing anyone needed; luckily all 13 boats got away with only cosmetic damage and before long the fleet could bear away round the coast onto a much more comfortable broad reach. Maiden is leading the way, flying her beautiful hand painted spinnaker the shore crew and family spent many hours working on during the stop over.

The fleet is still mostly tightly packed with only Explorer off up the coast on the opposite gybe. The champagne sailing is likely to be short lived with unavoidable headwinds as they find themselves out to the West of a High Pressure spinning anticlockwise to the East. There are going to be opportunities for tactical sailing in the headwinds. It is also a bit of an art nursing a boat upwind, so skills will come into play to keep boats' speeds up.

The long underwater profile of the powerful Swans should favour them upwind, however we have seen from previous legs that Maiden can hang on to them and with some wily tactics it might just give them the upper hand.

It's a long way to go and no doubt, it's going to be an interesting Leg!

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