Mirpuri in contention on leg two of Ocean Race Europe
Emily Nagel and her Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team colleagues remained thick in the hunt for class honours on leg two of the Ocean Race Europe from Cascais, Portugal, to Alicante, Spain, yesterday.
The Portuguese-based team are among a trio of boats at the front of the pack that have swapped the lead in the seven-boat one-design VO65 fleet since the 2,000-nautical mile race began on Sunday.
Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team led during the first night at sea until about 40 nautical miles from the Moroccan coast where they were passed by rivals Sailing Poland.
At one stage yesterday, Nagel and her team-mates slipped to third but at press time were shown in second behind new leaders AkzoNobel Ocean Racing, the team the Bermuda sailor competed with in the previous Volvo Ocean Race around the world held in 2017-18.
The fleet enjoyed mostly fast downwind conditions on the opening stage of leg two of the inaugural race on its way south along the Portuguese coast to Cape St Vincent before turning southeast overnight.
But by yesterday morning they began to feel the effects of fierce headwinds in the Gibraltar Strait.
As expected, strong easterly headwinds gusting over 40 knots made for brutal conditions for the fleet throughout the three-hour Gibraltar Strait passage.
However, the conditions were expected to subside last night as they travelled farther into the Mediterranean.
The fleet is expected to arrive at the finish in Alicante tomorrow, which could potentially be delayed because of forecast light conditions.
Meanwhile, Nagel and her team-mates went into leg two of the race with momentum having secured class honours in the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy coastal race in Cascais.
With the result, Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, led by French helmsman Yoann Richomme, earned three vital bonus points that count towards the Ocean Race Europe series to close the gap on leaders Austrian Ocean Race Project.
The triumph helped to restore the team’s confidence and morale, having finished last in the opening leg of the main event four days earlier, despite having led most of the 2,000 nautical miles from Lorient, France, to Cascais.
AmberSail-2 trail Austrian Ocean Race Project by a solitary point in the standings. Third-placed AkzoNobel Ocean Racing are tied on points with fourth and fifth-placed Sailing Poland and Team Childhood I, while Mirpuri Foundation Racing and Viva Mexico round off the fleet in sixth and seventh.
The third and final leg of the race will then take the fleet from Alicante to the finish in Genoa, Italy, where more bonus points will be up for grabs in the second and final coastal race of the inaugural series.