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Portimao Global Ocean Race

Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme first to join Cape Town

Beluga Racer and Desafio Cabo de Hornos are in

dimanche 16 novembre 2008Redaction SSS [Source RP]

It has been a thrilling day in Cape Town as first Beluga Racer took line honours to win Leg 1 of the Portimão Global Ocean Race, followed three hours later by Desafio Cabo de Hornos. The German team of Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme did a superb job all the way to the finish line coaxing everything they could out of their stunning blue and white Class 40. As they approached land dolphins joined them in their revelry while a pod whales basked lazily in the cool water between the city and Robben Island, home for Nelson Mandela for the best part of three decades.

Boris and Felix sailed a masterful leg from Portimão to Cape Town sailing the nearly 7,000 miles is exactly five weeks. “We just had a great time,” Boris said. “The sailing was really nice and Felix and I got on so well. We were never bored, not even for one minute.” Sure it’s easy to have more fun when you are in the lead but there was plenty of hard work and some nail biting moments as the leg drew to an end. “It was really hard to watch the Chileans eat away at our lead,” Felix said. “We had a good lead but they were in a completely different weather pattern and there was nothing we could do about it until they got close to us. Fortunately our wind filled in from a good direction and sometime late yesterday we started to believe that we might win the leg.”

Beluga Racer led from the outset and other than a very short period just south of the Canary Islands when Desafio Cabo de Hornos took the lead, Boris and Felix dominated. Some strange weather in the South Atlantic gave them a few days of unnecessary heartburn but in the end they held off a late leg charge from the Chileans and took the leg.

Three hours later Felipe Cubillos and José Muñoz drove their gorgeous brand new Class 40 Desafio Cabo de Hornos across the same finish line, their colourful graphics a striking contrast against the slate grey of Table Mountain. “We raced them all the way to the finish,” Felipe said. “Some of our weather models gave us the win while others gave Beluga Racer the victory. We had to keep pushing all the way until we knew it was hopeless, and then we kept on pushing.” Desafio Cabo de Hornos finished a scant three hours astern of Beluga Racer, a slight margin after 35 days of racing. “We had no problems at all,” said José Muñoz. “The boat was perfect all the way. No problems. We could leave in a few days if we had to. We are now ready for the Southern Ocean.”

While the four sunburnt sailors enjoy cold beer and massive steaks at the Royal Cape Yacht Club, Team Mowgli is steaming at full speed toward Cape Town. At the 16:20 UTC poll Sunday Team Mowgli had 160 miles to go to the finish. They have been averaging close to 10 knots and the forecast is for a fair breeze all the way in. Their ETA is for mid-morning local time Monday.

Press info Brian Hancock /

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