Emily Nagel and Mirpuri Foundation Racing crowned VO65 champions in inaugural Ocean Race Europe
Bermudian sailor Emily Nagel and her Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team colleagues achieved their primary objective in the inaugural Ocean Race Europe in Genoa, Italy at the weekend.
The Portuguese-based team won last Saturday’s coastal race and with it the overall title in the seven-boat one-design VO65 fleet.
“Winning The Ocean Race Europe has been the team’s one and only goal for the past year so we are all extremely proud of completing our mission,” Nagel said.
Mirpuri held a one-point advantage over second-placed AkzoNobel Ocean Racing at the top of the standings going into the 90-minute sprint race contested in light winds around the triangular racecourse in the Gulf of Genoa.
Nagel and her colleagues got off to the perfect start as they led coming off the line while AkzoNobel had to restart after going over early.
The leaders endured some anxious moments after encountering difficulty while hoisting their spinnaker on the final run to the finish.
However, they quickly recovered and held off a charging Sailing Team Poland to secure their fourth straight win of the series, having won the last two offshore legs and both coastal races.
Sailing Team Poland crossed the finish line in second and Nagel’s former team AkzoNobel third respectively.
“We are all extremely excited by the success of the final in-port race,” Nagel added. “We were tied for the lead before the race which meant we had to beat AkzoNobel in order to win the overall event.
“It took a while for the wind to fill in which led to the start being postponed for an hour but eventually filled in to have a solid six knots, which was enough to start racing.
“From the start the intensity was high; we won the start after AkzoNobel and Team Poland were both over the line.
“We led around both the first and second mark, but after hosting the kite ended up having the tackling come off the kite leading to the kite streaming out the back of the boat.
“We quickly dropped the kite and had to rerun it, losing valuable distance on Team Poland and Team Mexico who were close behind.
“We pushed hard the entire downwind to stay ahead, having a few close crosses with Team Poland. It wasn’t until the final 100 metres that we knew we were ahead.”
Mirpuri topped the VO65 standings by five-points over second placed Sailing Team Poland, who pipped third-placed AkzoNobel on a tiebreak after the two teams finished the series tied.
Led by French skipper Yoann Richomme, the newly crowned VO65 champions are a new addition to the Ocean Race fleet and are “Racing For The Planet” to put climate change on the global agenda.
Meanwhile, Offshore Team Germany led the IMOCA60 fleet across the finish line in last Saturday’s coastal race to clinch overall class honours, with 11th Hour Racing Team and LinkedOut placing second and third respectively.
American entry 11th Hour Racing and LinkedOut also placed second and third in the overall IMOCA60 standings.