Making the finish this Sunday in the marvellous Mindelo Bay at 15.25 hours local time, the Japanese crew of Masa Suzuki and Koji Nakagawa covered 1884 miles in 7 days 2 hours and 25 minutes at an average speed of 11.06 knots.

The Japanese team sailed a masterful race in this first leg of the round the world. Setting sail from Tangier on Sunday 26 June, there was little separating the fleet in the first bracing phase of the course leading the fleet down towards Madeira, which saw them posting a daily average of up to 300 miles with a steady trade wind on the beam. Up next, demonstrating great tactics in the wind shadow of Madeira, a situation well analysed prior to the start by the race’s weather guru Christian Dumard, MILAI Around the World opened up a lead of around 70 miles ahead of their closest rival SEC HAYAI. The Japanese crew then managed to hold onto their advantage in the second section of the course between Madeira and the Canaries, approaching the island of Tenerife at first light on Wednesday 29 June. In the 3rd phase of the course between the Canaries and the island of Sao Vincente in Cape Verde, MILAI managed to avoid the pitfalls of the hefty wind shadow created by Tenerife before closing on the African coast and then being the first to tack off the coast of Mauritania and launch onto a direct course for Cape Verde. Making further gains in the closing miles, the leaders managed to extend away from their pursuers once more, ultimately stretching out their lead to nearly 140 miles ahead of their main rival SEC HAYAI.

Masa Suzuki “this is our first round of the GLOBE40 and we have a good feeling after 2 years of preparation; we had a great time on the water; Madeira was a difficult time and we are happy to have passed it in good conditions and to have had the right strategy”

Koji Nakagawa “we have an excellent team and I am very happy with it, the best moment was obviously the passage to Madeira; this is my first visit to Cape Verde and I am really surprised by the high quality of the welcome »

Completing this first leg of the GLOBE40 with a swift average speed of more than 11 knots thanks to some stellar tactics, MILAI was able to get ahead of the rest of the fleet, but in her wake it’s interesting to note the very similar speeds of her rivals, which saw them constantly jockeying for position at the front of the chasing pack. Evenly matched then, this augurs well for the competitive appeal of this round the world race going forward. Following a prologue of nearly 1,000 miles, this first leg of around 2,000 miles ranks as coefficient 1, with the race set to become tougher still the further along the racetrack the sailors get. Indeed, the first long course now beckons with 7,000 miles to reach Mauritius, ranked as a coefficient 3 leg, with the fleet setting out from Mindelo in a fortnight’s time on 17 July.

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