The Adventure Begins

25 09 2011

At 14:00 local time Sunday, the six double-handed Class40’s in the Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) fleet crossed the start line in Palma, Mallorca, with Leg 1 and 7,000 miles to Cape Town ahead of them.

BSL starting. Photo Credit: Max Ranchi

Following overnight rain, the sky cleared at dawn on Sunday and a very light breeze trickled through the Marina de Mallorca and
the GOR Race Village as the teams, their shore crews, friends and families arrived at the dock to prepare for the start.

At 10:30, Father Miralles from the San Sebastian Church blessed the GOR fleet before the six boats headed out into Palma Bay at
11:00 led by Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs on Financial Crisis with the dock lines for the entire fleet let go by GOR Race Ambassador and round-the-world yachtswoman, Dee Caffari, assisted by fellow IMOCA Open 60 sailor, Alex Thomson.

As the six Class40’s milled in the competitor-only exclusion zone just south-east of the Camino de la Escollera, the team from the
Real Club Nautico de Palma (RCNP) laid the start line close inshore. While the course was laid, the spectator fleet of around 100 vessels ranging from a 95ft classic ketch to a fleet of Lasers, including a party from the GOR’s host yacht club in Uruguay, the Yacht Club Punta del Este and the club’s Commodore, Horacio Garcia Pastori, fell into a holding pattern further offshore, south of the RCNP’s committee boat.

In the final 30 minutes before the start, the GOR’s Co-Race Director, Sylvie Viant, boarded each competing Class40 to ensure that
the engine seals were in place and a team of support RIBs plucked shore teams from each yacht. With the afternoon sea breeze failing to arrive and a southerly breeze of around seven knots, the joint RCNP GOR committee opted to shorten the
inshore course from a nine-mile triangle to a single starboard rounding just under two miles from the start, allowing the fleet to clear the bay swiftly.

The GOR fleet has around 450 miles of sailing through the Mediterranean before reaching the Straits of Gibraltar and the busy
Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) between Gibraltar and Morocco. Weather models predict an easterly airstream in the middle of the Mediterranean and the teams will head south to grab a good ride to Gibraltar. Having left the Med, the next turning mark is the Fastnet Marine Insurance Scoring Gate at the Brazilian Island of Fernando de Noronha, 2,800 miles to the south-west of Gibraltar.

The GOR website will be updated twice each day throughout Leg 1 with reports from the boats while offshore racing enthusiasts
can race Class40’s along the same route as the real fleet via the GOR’s Virtual Game.

globaloceanrace.com

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