Cessna Citation is back in the lead as Cape Horn approaches
20 February, 2012 | by Oliver Dewar
At 18:00 GMT on Sunday, Conrad Colman and Adrian Kuttel re-took the lead in Leg 3 of the Global Ocean Race (GOR) with Cessna Citation as Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon climbed north with Financial Crisis, dropping back to second place as the new leaders built on their lead overnight. In third place with Phesheya-Racing, the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire have reached 56S – the same latitude as Cape Horn 1,200 miles to the east – and have passed the area of iceberg sightings reported by Cessna Citation last Wednesday.
As Leggatt and Hutton-Squire drop deeper into the Southern Ocean, more clothing is being broken out on Phesheya-Racing. Phillippa Hutton-Squire describes the latest trends in the Furious Fifties: “This week we have thick fleece thermals and Sealskinz waterproof socks,” she explains. “I‘m wearing a thin layer of normal thermals under my thick thermals, then we pull on our mid-layers and then our normal foul weather gear,” says Hutton-Squire. “So, once you’re dressed to go outside, you feel and walk like a penguin!” Fresh zip-lock bags of supplies have just been opened by the South Africans: “Everything is packed into little bags from the sugar and tea with the right portion for the week, the toilet paper, clean dish towels, fruit cake.... can you imagine arriving at Week 4 after the whole boat has been covered in condensation for days and your soft, two-ply toilet paper is wet?” she asks. “Would that not make you grumpy?”
With the numbing cold, food is increasingly important: “It’s essential that we get enough calories and carbohydrates inside us to help us stay warm and have enough energy to work the boat,” continues Hutton-Squire. “I think my portions have doubled since the weather has got so much cooler and Nick never seems to stop eating!” she notes. “Breakfast, snack snack, sleep, lunch, snack snack, sleep, dinner and then he eat his way through the dark hours too, however he hasn’t put on weight yet!”
The duo has finished their on board supplies of drinking water and while an emergency stock of bottled water remains for use if the lift raft is deployed, desalinated seawater is now the primary supply: “Right now the water maker is pumping away and making us enough water for dinner tonight and tomorrow,” continues Hutton-Squire. “It’s coming straight from the ocean where the water temperature is 8C. It’s like drinking water straight from the fridge in the middle of winter and goes down inside you and makes you cold inside.”
Meanwhile, 737 miles to the east at 15:00 GMT on Monday, Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon were chasing Colman and Kuttel hard with 450 miles remaining to the Felipe Cubillos Cape Horn Gate. In reaching conditions, the option for Financial Crisis was obvious. Hugo Ramon explains: “The most intelligent tactic was to move north at speed and close the lateral separation between us and Cessna, then plant ourselves in front in a covering position….in theory!” In reality, Financial Crisis passed 13 miles behind Colman and Kuttel at midnight Sunday/Monday. “We were a bit too optimistic about the capabilities of our boat,” admits Ramon. “She’s older and narrower than Cessna without so much form stability, so we were forced to reduce sail to stop being overpowered and to avoid burying the bow.”
However, Nannini and Ramon have been carrying as much canvas as they dare, although the result hasn’t always been favourable and on Sunday, the tack line of the Code 5 parted: “The sail became a brutal, uncontrollable beast,” recalls Ramon who went forward in the pitch dark as Nannini handled the halyard. “We got the sail down, but I was beaten and bruised,” says the Spanish skipper following an encounter with the sail’s tack furler as it thrashed about the foredeck. “It weighs about 1.5kg and hit me right on the head, then came back for more and smacked me right on the nose,” reports Ramon. “I should really be missing part of my face as the furler has lots of sharp pieces sticking out,” he adds. “It was so cold on deck that I couldn’t really feel anything, but once I got down below and started to warm up, it really, really began to hurt.”
In the 15:00 GMT position poll on Monday, Colman and Kuttel had increased their lead by 35 miles since overtaking Nannini and Ramon with Cessna Citation and Financial Crisis averaging between seven and nine knots as the extremely shifty wind clocks round to the west.
Although Nick Leggatt has already rounded Cape Horn five times, the GOR’s Leg 3 will be a debut at the world’s southernmost cape for the remaining five skippers. In the memory of the late Chilean round-the-world yachtsman and former GOR competitor, Felipe Cubillos, the first GOR Class40 to cross the Felipe Cubillos Cape Horn Gate running south from Horn Island’s western lighthouse will receive a replica of the Albatross sculpture located on Horn Island. Furthermore, the Class40 team that supplies the most accurate ETA at the Felipe Cubillos Cape Horn Gate submitted before crossing a point 1,000 miles west of the cape will receive membership to the Royal Institute of Navigation in Kensington, London, and trophies awarded by Alan Green of the GOR Race Committee.
The leading pair of boats has submitted their Cape Horn ETAs with Colman and Kuttel on Cessna Citation betting on 05:00 GMT on Wednesday and Nannini and Ramon on Financial Crisis predicting 21:00 GMT on Wednesday. Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire have a further 200 miles remaining before they must submit the ETA for Phesheya-Racing.
GOR leaderboard at 15:00 GMT 20/2/12:
1. Cessna Citation DTF 1827 8.6kts
2. Financial Crisis DTL 35 7.7kts
3. Phesheya-Racing DTL 772 8kts