Emily Nagel over the moon as Mirpuri build on winning streak
Bermudian Emily Nagel and her Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team colleagues surged to the top of the pecking order in the VO65 fleet after wining leg 2 of the Ocean Race Europe from Cascais, Portugal, to Alicante, Spain, yesterday.
The Portuguese-based team crossed the finish line in the Spanish port at 5.40am ahead of the full fleet, which also comprised the foiling IMOCA 60s.
It was the culmination of a prolonged match race at the front of the pack between the eventual winners and Nagel’s former team AkzoNobel Ocean Racing since the fleet entered the Mediterranean on Monday.
“We led from the start with AkzoNobel hot on our heels and that battle stayed close throughout the three days,” an elated yet exhausted Nagel told The Royal Gazette.
“There was rarely a moment when we couldn’t see them. This essentially resulted in a 300-mile match race once we started crossing each other at Gibraltar.”
Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team completed the 700-nautical mile race in light and fluky winds just before sunrise in two days, 15hr 15min 59sec.
“It was quite a bit faster than the original routing predicted, as we originally thought the wind would shut off more in the final evening,” Nagel added.
“It was an incredibly tough three days of racing. The coastal course meant a lot of manoeuvres and sail changes with very little time actually off watch.
“We had particularly challenging conditions going upwind through the Strait of Gibraltar in 35 knots of breeze, which did not make life easy.
“Very proud of the whole team for the effort put in and relieved to have come out on top, but definitely time for some sleep now.”
AzkoNobel Ocean Racing crossed in second just under half an hour later, with Poland Sailing rounding off the podium in third.
The win catapulted Nagel and her team-mates to the top of the seven-boat VO65 standings, level on points with Dutch rival AkzoNobel Ocean Racing, but ahead on a tie-break.
“We are now tied to the top of the leaderboard with AkzoNobel and with only one leg and one coastal race left to go,” Yoann Richomme, the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team helmsman said on the team’s official website.
“It’s going to be an intense finish to this race, but that’s what we came here for. It will be a good fight with them, I think, right until the end.”
He added: “It’s fantastic to get our first leg win and make our way back up to the top of the rankings. It was a hard leg, very busy all the time with lots of sail changes and a very big physical effort needed from everyone. It was a difficult finish in the Mediterranean in low wind, making it very challenging tactically and mentally to take and then maintain the lead in the closing stages.
“It is beautiful to watch this team at work. Everyone knows what to do and we work well together.”
The victory was the team’s second in five days having also secured class honours competing at last Saturday’s Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy coastal race in Cascais.
Meanwhile, LinkedOut was the first boat in the IMOCA 60 fleet to cross the finish followed by Offshore Team Germany and 11th Hour Racing in second and third respectively.
The third and final leg of the Ocean Race Europe, beginning on Sunday, will take the fleet from Alicante to the finish in Genoa, Italy, where more bonus points will be up for grabs in the final coastal race of the series.