Early Ocean Race Europe disappointment for Emily Nagel
Emily Nagel says she and her Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team colleagues were “extremely disappointed” to see their hard work go in vain in the opening leg of the inaugural Ocean Race Europe.
The Portuguese-based team led most of the 2,000 nautical mile race from Lorient, France, to Cascais, Portugal, but ultimately finished last among the seven-boat one-design VO65 fleet as a tactical decision came back to haunt them.
“It wasn’t exactly the finish we were hoping for,” Nagel said. “The entire team sailed brilliantly and we pushed hard from the start. Every position report we held the highest average speed and for a lot of points in the race we led.
“It was a very challenging leg with a great variety of conditions from drifting in no wind, to 35 knots reaching to super shifty and squally conditions when we reached the cold front in the final 24 hours.”
The fleet strategically positioned themselves to round the large race exclusion zone blocking their path to the finish line in Cascais.
Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team opted to go alone in a northerly route while the remainder of the fleet bunched together to round the southwest corner of the zone.
It was a gamble that backfired and all but put paid to their bid for class line honours.“Unfortunately, the final tactical decision at the end was whether we went north or south of an exclusion zone off the west of Cascais,” Nagel added. “We went north, everyone else went south.
“While this meant we could sail faster, we had to cover a lot more distance because of some unexpected wind shifts. When we gybed south, suddenly the entire fleet was ahead of us.
“We managed to close the gap and finish within minutes of the other boats, but obviously we were extremely disappointed.”
The race came down to a nail-biting conclusion as Austrian Ocean Race Project came from behind to pip Lithuanian entry Ambersail-2 for line honours by a mere six seconds.
Team Childhood I, which competed under both the Sweden and Netherlands banner, crossed a minute later to round off the podium. Sailing Poland finished fourth, Nagel’s former team AkzoNobel Ocean Racing fifth and Viva Mexico sixth.
Nagel and her colleagues hope to bounce back competing at today’s Coastal Race as part of The Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy before setting sail on the second leg of the Ocean Race Europe from Cascais to Alicante, Spain tomorrow.
“Ready to come out fighting this weekend in the Miripuri Foundation Trophy event, which counts towards the Ocean Race Europe tour as the coastal race,” Nagel added. “Then on Sunday it’s off to Alicante.”