Gracias Punta del Este

Sailing Magazine South Africa Sailor of the Month, Phillippa Hutton-Squire

Sailing Magazine South Africa Sailor of the Month, Phillippa Hutton-Squire

05 April, 2012 | by Oliver Dewar

The four Class40s in the Global Ocean Race (GOR) fleet tacked away from the Uruguayan coast in unison at 20:00 GMT on Wednesday with Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough leading the fleet due east into the South Atlantic with Cessna Citation, beating on port tack in northerly wind.

For the South African team on Phesheya-Racing, hitching an extra tack north as the fleet cleared the coast proved a costly call. Phillippa Hutton-Squire – who has just been made Sailing Magazine South Africa Sailor of the Month – explains the tactic: “We have not even been at sea for 48 hours and already one bad tack for only three hours means you can lose a place or two,” she reported early on Thursday morning.

Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, Phesheya-Racing and Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo on Financial Crisis were in close combat: “We were neck and neck with them swapping positions every few hours,” continues Hutton-Squire. “We tacked about 1.5 nm from the shore, in the moon light we could just make out the sandy beach; the sea was lumpy and the boat was crashing over the waves and we managed to position ourselves back in second place behind Cessna,” she reports. However, while changing down from Solent to staysail a hole was torn in the larger headsail. “We’ll have to fix it next time it is on deck,” she adds. “Our move to head north turned out to be a bad idea after we got headed badly once sailing east again and we will have to work hard now at our boat speed to regain the lost miles.”

At 06:00 GMT on Thursday, Leggatt and Hutton-Squire were in fourth place, just four miles off the starboard quarter of the Dutch duo, Nico Budel and Erik van Vuuren on Sec. Hayai. Meanwhile, 150 miles off the coast of Brazil, Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo were furthest north with Financial Crisis, trailing Cessna Citation by 21 miles. “Unsurprisingly, we are trailing Cessna who's led since the start and we know we have little chance to beat them this leg,” says Nannini.

Although Nannini and Frattaruolo’s Akilaria Class40 is an older generation than Cessna Citation, the Italian-Slovak duo are intent on harrying Colman and Cavanough. “They will be much faster especially after the Doldrums, but we'll always be ready to take advantage of any opportunity to tease them,” Nannini predicts. “For now our priority is to preserve our position ahead of Sec. Hayai and Phesheya. We are three identical boats that came out of the same mould, so it's particularly exciting to have our little race within the race.”

As the GOR Race Organisation return to Europe from Uruguay after six weeks in Punta del Este, Josh Hall, the event’s Race Director, reflected on the successful stopover. “The hospitality, support, enthusiasm and friendship we encountered in Punta del Este will never be forgotten by the teams or the Race Organisation,” says Hall. “The Yacht Club Punta del Este; the organisation and support from the region of Maldonado and the Uruguay Ministry of Tourism and all those who made us so welcome was overwhelming and we look forward to returning to Punta del Este for the 2013-14 GOR,” he confirms. “The Leg 4 start day was an exciting end to a highly enjoyable stopover and we would also like to thank the Yacht Club Punta del Este for running the start line and for the immaculate behaviour of the large, enthusiastic  spectator fleet.”

GOR leaderboard at 06:00 GMT 05/04/2012:
1.    Cessna Citation DTF 5230 8kts
2.    Financial Crisis DTL 21 7kts
3.    Sec. Hayai DTL 30 7.6kts
4.    Phesheya-Racing DTL 34 8.1kts