Global Ocean Race leaders count down final miles

A bright moon guides Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough - - Global Ocean Race 2011-12
Cessna Citation
Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) fleet are on the sixteenth day of racing in leg five from Charleston.

The two front running Class40s, Cessna Citation and Financial Crisis, were separated by 280 miles on Monday afternoon as the two double-handed Class40s head due east at the same latitude as the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. South-west of the leading two boats, around 180 miles NNW of the Azores, Phesheya-Racing and Sec. Hayai are beginning the long ascent through the Atlantic to the Bay of Biscay.

In the past 24 hours, Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough in first place with Cessna Citation and the Italian-Slovak duo of Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo in second on Financial Crisis have been reaching in southerly wind towards the western coast of France with Nannini and Frattaruolo maintaining averages of 11-12 knots until midnight on Sunday, taking 20 miles from Colman and Cavanough over the past day and trailing the lead boat by 280 miles on Monday afternoon.

Further to the south, Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire in third on Phesheya-Racing have maintained a 170 mile lead over Nico and Frans Budel on Sec. Hayai in fourth as the two Class40s run downwind as they climb up towards the latitude of Cape Finisterre.

After 30,000 miles and 148 days of hard racing spread over almost nine months, the Kiwi-Australian duo of Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough at the head of the GOR fleet are counting down the final miles on board their Akilaria RC2, Cessna Citation: 'It feels fantastic to be inside the final 500 miles of the final leg,' said Colman Sunday night. 'The dream is almost over, however, it’s not over until the fat lady sings, apparently, and our old lady is starting to show her age,' he adds as gear on Colman’s one year-old Class40 begins to succumb to the punishment of racing around the world. 'Here on Cessna Citation we’re still looking out for chafing lines after a couple of crucial breakages,' adds the Kiwi skipper.

Colman and Cavanough are monitoring the boat carefully following a surprise discovery when hoisting the Solent jib: 'We found that there was a lot of friction on the halyard, so I went up the rig to see what the matter was and discovered that the pulley in the mast that the halyard runs over simply wasn't there!' explains Colman. 'It has obviously collapsed and fallen down into the mast.' The duo swiftly rigged a 2:1 halyard meant for the fractional spinnaker and the immediate problem was solved.

'Otherwise, all is going well on board,' Colman confirms. 'We’re in mild reaching conditions which is an easy point of sail and leaves plenty of time for sightseeing,' he continues as Cessna Citation averaged a steady nine-ten knots throughout Monday. 'Sadly there isn't much to see apart from the exceptionally bright and beautiful moon which would have been a welcome addition to our nasty storm experience a few days ago,' he comments.

On Phesheya-Racing in third place, Phillippa Hutton-Squire and Nick Leggatt were celebrating: 'We have now crossed the final longitudinal line to complete our circumnavigation,' wrote Phillippa Hutton-Squire on Monday morning and despite having 1,266 miles remaining to the finish, the South African duo has, technically, lapped the planet: 'To classify as a circumnavigation we have to cross all the lines of longitude, sail at least 21,600 miles and sail in both the North and South Hemispheres, which we have now done,' she continued.

'With that little excitement in my stomach of having sailed through all the lines of longitude, it is still somehow not over until we are tied to the dock,' says Hutton-Squire as there is still a potential weather hurdle before Phesheya-Racing completes the GOR’s course: 'We have to sail carefully and watch Beryl as it is due to hit us again in the shallow water of Biscay,' she warns, monitoring the long range forecast and the persistent tropical storm that refuses to leave the North Atlantic.

Meanwhile, in fourth place, the father-and-son duo of Nico and Frans Budel on Sec. Hayai are eternally optimistic: 'On Hayai everything is going well, no specific problems or sail problems,' confirmed Frans Budel on Monday morning. 'We’re now beginning to miss our A6 a lot, but this is a thing we have to deal with,' says the Dutch skipper pragmatically. 'We’re certain to get lighter winds and then we can use our big A2, but right now we are trying to sail as fast we can with our Solent and mainsail,' he adds as Sec. Hayai thunders through the aftermath of the recent gales: 'The sea is quite rough with big swells from different directions which sometimes all arrive together and smash into the poor boat, but we’re also doing a lot of surfing,' reports Frans and with a potential ETA of next Monday, the Dutch duo are finally finishing the decent food supplies on board: 'We’ve also eaten our last fresh bread which was delicious!' he adds. 'Scrambled egg with bacon!'

GOR leaderboard 15:00 GMT 4/6/12:
1. Cessna Citation DTF 389 9.6kts
2. Financial Crisis DTL 280 9kts
3. Phesheya-Racing DTL 743 8.8kts
4. Sec. Hayai DTL 913 7.8kts

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