Nagel and team on course for victory
Emily Nagel and Team AkzoNobel surged into the lead of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet yesterday, as they closed in on the finish line of the second leg from Lisbon to Cape Town.
The Dutch racing syndicate appears to be reaping the rewards of its gamble to take a more easterly route than the rest of the fleet, moving up three places from fourth to first.
The course puts Team AkzoNobel more on a straight line to Cape Town, although they will still have to sail a circle route around the extensive light-wind system called the St Helena high pressure that blocks the direct route to Cape Town.
However, there is an element of risk to the team’s strategy: sail too close to the high
pressure and run out of wind, or get trapped if the weather-system pressure alters course in the east.
“Over the next 36 hours, timing is going to be everything,” said Ross Monson, the Team AkzoNobel on-shore navigator.
“If you make the turn too early for Cape Town, you risk tighter angle [closer to the wind] slower sailing conditions until the low-pressure system picks you up. This saves you miles in distance, but you will be sailing slower.
“Turn too late and you risk being overtaken by the system and not fully maximising its potential to shoot you straight to the finish line at speed. This could possibly be worse than the people who cut the corner.”
Nagel completed a rite of passage after crossing the Equator for the first time on Monday.
In keeping with tradition, she and team-mates Brad Farrand and Martine Grael were “summoned” before King Neptune’s court to atone for their sins and were subjected to some arbitrary justice imposed by the king (Chris Nicholson) and his wife, Codfish (Nicolai Sehested).
The University of Southampton graduate is living her dream after being selected for the crew of Team AkzoNobel, led by Simeon Tienpont, a two-times America’s Cup winner.
Nagel previously worked full time with America’s Cup racing syndicate SoftBank Team Japan after giving up her place on Bermuda’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team.
Team AkzoNobel were the fourth entry across the finish line in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante, Spain, to Lisbon.
Nagel is one of two local sailors involved in the event, with Mustafa Ingham, a member of Team BDA, is serving an apprenticeship with racing syndicate Turn the Tide on Plastic.
* Stephan Baker was crowned overall winner of the Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association Nationals & Open Championships.
The American sailor won by a comfortable margin over nearest rivals and compatriots Thomas Kerrigan and Vanessa Lahrkamp, who defended her title among the girls’ fleet and was third overall.
Ahzai Smith finished as the top Bermudian sailor at the event for the second straight year in ninth overall, with Christian Ebbin came eleventh and Sebastian Kempe thirteenth.
Laura Hupman was the top local girl and 24th overall followed by Nicole Stovell in 28th and Leyli Walker in 29th.
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