With days to go until the first boats are expected to cross the finish line of Leg 4 in the Ocean Globe Race, has the crew of the French Swan 53, Triana done enough to secure victory?

The French team, Triana is currently leading the overall IRC ratings in the Ocean Globe Race.

As of today, the crew, skippered by French media entrepreneur, Jean d’Arthuys, has a lead of 40 hours over their nearest rival, Maiden, and a 52-hour lead over Pen Duick VI.

At the start of Leg 4, Triana had a seven-day lead over UK entrant Maiden, but the crew struggled to retain this advantage due to strong headwinds that hampered their progress.

This week, Maiden gained on Triana, as the latter has been trapped by the lighter winds affecting the middle of the race fleet.

“Upwind, great reading weather! Plenty of book swaps, all are glad we refreshed our collection in Punta trading with other boats. After clawing for info about the various high/low pressures of the North Atlantic, it’s now up to the nav team to put the jigsaw puzzle together. High pressures are good 4 quality sleep and looking at stars, different hemisphere and a new month means there r always more stars 2 learn:)!” tweeted Maiden.

The crew of Maiden have been struggling to find the wind over the last week, allowing Triana to make gains. Creidt: The Maiden Factor/OGR 2023

The crew of Maiden have been making the best of the upwind conditions. Credit: The Maiden Factor/OGR 2023

Team Triana has also run low on food. The crew are sailing on a daily diet of soup and all the flying fish they can catch with 1,941nm to go until the finish.

“Last week, as all the weeks of this leg [have been] it has not been so easy. Some days with wind, some days with less wind and not a direct road but since yesterday, it is better as we are having between 10-15 knots of wind so [the weather is much] more stable and it seems to be better,” said d’Arthuys.

The crew have previously proven they can match the larger boats in the Flyer Class after winning first in the IRC on Leg 3, from Auckland to Punta del Este.

Triana is currently just over 500 miles behind Maiden, but both need to make the most of the favourable winds from the Azores High to keep the pressure on as they could face a challenge in the overall IRC ratings from Marie Tabarly’s Pen Duick VI.

French sailor Marie Tabarly laughing

Marie Tabarly is all smiles as Pen Duick VI storms up the Atlantic. Credit: Pen Duick IV/Ocean Globe Race

The fiercely loyal Breton skipper and her crew have been flying thanks to riding a large low-pressure system, with the 73ft yacht reaching speeds of over 10.1 knots.

This has given the crew a lead of 200nm on the rest of the fleet and continues to give the French team favourable, fast conditions.

Pen Duick VI, which Tabarly’s father, French sailing legend Éric Tabarly, raced in the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race, is less than 850nm from the finish line at Cowes, Isle of Wight, with the boat expected to finish by Saturday.

With such a good lead, the chances of the rest of the fleet catching up with Pen Duick VI to take line honours are slim.

Continues below…

Meanwhile, Pen Duick VI‘s biggest rivals, Translated 9 are expected to reach Madeira this evening.

The Italian crew has been forced to retire from Leg 4 after cracks re-opened in the hull of their Swan 65.

Translated 9 also retired in Leg 3 after cracks developed in the hull around the rudder skeg; the team diverted to the Falkland Islands to make repairs in time for the start of Leg 4 from Punta del Este in Uruguay.

A Swan 65 boat sailing

The Swan 65 Translated 9 was raced in the 1977 Whitbread Race as ADC Accutrac, skippered by Clare Francis. Credit: Translated 9

But on Friday, co-skipper Nico Malingri texted Race Control to say the previous rudder skeg repairs had failed with obvious signs of delamination with the original hull. The crew reported water ingress and hull flexing.

Translated 9‘s shore crew is currently in Maderia awaiting their arrival, and the team intends to make repairs and continue to the finish line, completing their circumnavigation of the world.

Co-skipper, Marco Trombetti, said: “Translated 9 did the impossible, after the hull damage in Leg 3 we miraculously fixed it and restarted the race. From the 9th position, we were back in first place. I am proud of our team, they have done more than anyone expected. The boat broke, not the humans.”

There is no time limit to finish Leg 4, but it does mean the Italian team is excluded from the IRC ranking for the race overall because outside assistance will be needed to make repairs. This is not allowed under race rules.

The Ocean Globe Race fleet has now crossed the equator, with several boats experiencing rigging and sail issues.

The crew of the South African Swan 53, Sterna has a broken D2. It has snapped off at the rig screw from the end of the spreader. The crew has slowed down the boat to make repairs with Dyneema.

Meanwhile, Outlaw has blown out its second spinnaker, and Explorer at the back of the fleet, is still struggling with their damaged reefing gear.

Positions of the 2023 Ocean Globe Race fleet – Leg 4: Punta del Este to Cowes at 1500 UTC on 08 April 2024. These positions will change under the IRC rating. Line honours are shown below. 

Pen Duick VI (France)
L’Esprit d’Equipe (France)
Spirit of Helsinki (Finland)
Neptune (France)
Maiden (UK)
Outlaw (Australia)
Galiana with Secure (Finland)
Evrika (France)
Triana (France)
White Shadow (Spain)
Sterna (South Africa)
Explorer (Australia)

Translated 9 (Italy)
Godspeed (USA)

Enjoyed reading Could the French storm to victory in the Ocean Globe Race?

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