Today saw the GLOBE40 crews take the start of the 3rd leg of the event; another substantial leg worth a coefficient 3, which will take the sailors on a journey of nearly 7,000 miles (13,000 km) from Mauritius to New Zealand, depending on the routing. The ranking remains wide open and at the end of this leg the competitors will have covered over half the planet in this GLOBE40 round the world race.
Just a few miles to the south of Port-Louis, the capital of Mauritius, off the lighthouse marking the Pointe aux Caves, the racers set sail on this latest leg at 16:00 hours local time against a sublime backdrop of beaches and mountain ranges, heading south around the iconic basaltic Morne Brabant mountain before initially setting a course for the south-west tip of Australia across an Indian Ocean renowned for its complexity.
After this first section spanning nearly 3,000 nautical miles, the skippers will have to negotiate a gateway formed by Eclipse Island close to Cape Leeuwin, the second of the three legendary capes of this circumnavigation of the globe together with the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. Up next will be a 1,500 nautical mile passage across the Great Australian Bight bound for the dreaded Bass Strait separating mainland Australia from Tasmania, the competitors also remaining free to go around the southern tip of Tasmania.
Once they officially make it into the Pacific Ocean, the competitors will cross the Tasman Sea to get around New Zealand’s North Island at Cape Reinga before the sprint down the north coast to Auckland, the southern hemisphere’s legendary City of Sails, which is synonymous with the America’s Cup having hosted its most recent edition.
The event’s meteorologist Christian Dumard describes for us what this long oceanic passage entails: “The competitors will set sail in a well-established SE’ly trade wind. Their primary objective will be to beat towards the south or south-east to get around the high-pressure systems to the south of Mauritius and hunt down a W’ly wind synonymous with downwind conditions to the south, which should carry them as far as Eclipse Island. This transition between the two wind systems is always tricky to negotiate with its zones of calm.
Once they’re into the W’ly wind pattern, the competitors should accelerate as they benefit from some great surfing in the Southern Ocean. The Indian Ocean has a reputation for not being easy as it often features complicated sea conditions. Over the second part of the course, conditions may be varied with what could well be a difficult passage around Tasmania. The skippers will be able to round to the south or north, depending on the weather, before they climb northwards towards New Zealand in what will be early spring in the southern hemisphere.”
Suffice to say that the skippers in this first edition of the GLOBE40 will have to demonstrate great bravery once again after the 7,700 nautical miles of the second leg between Cape Verde and Mauritius. This original course will require around thirty days at sea in what are likely to be very varied conditions.”
Four new skippers have joined the race for this leg: Italian Luca Rosetti on MILAI Around The World, American Brian Harris and Canadian Kyle Hubley on AMHAS, and Spaniard Jéronimo Santos Gonzalès on WHISKEY JACK; the GLOBE40 once again confirming its status as an international race, with Briton Josh Hall also taking over as Race Director for the next two legs.
On a sporting level, the team on AMHAS will be keen to defend their lead (6 points) over MILAI Around The World (13 points), winner of the prologue and the first leg, who will be determined to regain the upper hand after their technical pit stop in Cape Town during the previous leg. SEC HAYAI (8 points) have been very consistent with 2 second places to date and now have their sights on the top step of the podium this time around, whilst WHISKEY JACK (15 points) and GRYPHON SOLO 2 (20 points) are never far behind, just 5 days separating the competitors at the finish in Mauritius after 35 days at sea.
A fantastic new sporting and human challenge, an epic oceanic voyage around the planet, a global journey of discovery taking in the Australian continent and New Zealand, this latest leg will drum up both excitement and apprehension on the part of the skippers:
AMHAS – Brian Harris (USA) / Kyle HUBLEY (CAN)
“Kyle Hubley is a sailor who is experienced in offshore preparation and navigation and I’m looking forward to sailing with him. I believe our skills really complement one another and that we’ll make a solid team. The leg to New Zealand is a long one and it will be the longest distance either one of us has ever sailed.”
SEC HAYAI – Frans Budel (NL) / Ysbrand Endt ( NL)
“The third leg will be a long one, but we now know what it’s like to be at sea for a long time. Having finished second twice over, we want that first place this time. It’s going to be a tough leg, so we’ll be pulling out all the stops.”
MILAI Around The World – Masa Suzuki (JAP) / Luca Rosetti ( ITA)
“The third leg also involves a difficult course, which is very important when you’re circumnavigating the globe. I’m sailing with Italian skipper Luca Rosetti and we’ve been friends since the Mini-Transat 2019.”
WHISKEY JACK – Mélodie Schaffer (CAN) / Jéronimo Santos Gonzalès ( ESP)
“Jeronimo and I sailed in this part of the world when we were competing in the Clipper Race, so we have some experience of the ocean here. He has a positive energy and temperament which, given the conditions we’re set to encounter, the cold temperature and the short periods of sleep, will be very important if we are to overcome the tough times.”
GRYPHON SOLO2 – Joe Harris (USA) / Roger Junet ( ITA)
“I’m very excited at the prospect of leg 3 (Mauritius – Auckland ), but it’s another long leg and almost as long as leg 2 (Cap Verde – Mauritius). We’re really looking forward to seeing New Zealand in October.”