Emily Nagel’s team leading VO65 class in Ocean Europe Race
Emily Nagel made a brilliant start to the opening leg of the inaugural Ocean Race Europe with Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team at the weekend.
The Portuguese-based team led the seven-boat one-design VO65 fleet out of the start in Lorient, France, on Saturday and managed to maintain pole position in the hunt for line honours yesterday.
They were tracked travelling along at 22.5 knots and were located 1,041.3 miles from the finish line in Cascais, Portugal.
However, the leaders cannot afford to sit back and enjoy the view, as the chasing pack remains hot on their transom with only seven nautical miles separating the fleet.
“We’ve got all the other boats on AIS [automatic identification system], the tracking system, and we are logging all the numbers of the other boats so we can monitor their performance and try to get the best out of our boat,” Yoann Richomme, the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team helmsman, commented on the race’s official website.
“Nico [navigator Nico Lunven] is checking the weather routing with the predicted weather from five or six weather files, but none of them agree! So we have to try and understand what is going on and make some tactical decisions based on the weather and what the others close to us are doing.”
Bermudian sailor Nagel comes with extensive offshore sailing experience, having competed in the previous Ocean Race with Team AkzoNobel as well as in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and Fastnet Race.
“I’m very excited to get back out to Europe and finally get racing again, it’s been a long winter without any racing,” she said in the lead-up to the race.
Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team is a new addition to the Ocean Race fleet and is “Racing For the Planet” to put climate change on the global agenda.
“I’ve been racing and training with the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team on and off for a year now,” Nagel added. “We first competed last June in the Mirpuri Foundation Trophy in Cascais and since then have had a couple of training camps.
“It’s a great team to be a part of with so many of my former competitors from the previous Ocean Race; each sailor brings a unique skill set and experience.
“The plan is to sail every leg, provided there are no injuries or Covid issues.”
The Portuguese team held a 7.41-nautical mile lead over AkzoNobel Ocean Racing, with Team Childhood I a farther three miles back in third.
French team LinkedOut held lead of 2.9 nautical miles in the foiling IMOCA 60 class over US entry 11th Hour Racing Team with Bureau Valle’e, also of France, a farther six miles behind the leaders in third.
The teams are expected to arrive in Portugal on Wednesday as wind strength and boat speeds are forecast to increase steadily over the next 24 hours.
The Ocean Race Europe is designed to showcase top-flight fully-crewed competitive ocean racing featuring the best international teams.
The race takes the fleet from the North Atlantic coast of Europe into the Mediterranean Sea and will also stop in Alicante, Spain, before finishing in Genoa, Italy.
Teams will earn points from all the offshore legs with bonus points to be awarded to the top three teams at the coastal races in Cascais and Genoa.
The final overall rankings will be determined based on overall points totals for the teams.
There will be winners and prizes in each class for the race.