The crew of the Swan 65, Translated 9 have won the first leg of the Ocean Globe Race, arriving in Cape Town after racing 7,305 nautical miles over 40 days

Translated 9 is the winner of the first leg of the retro Ocean Globe Race.

Co-skippered by Vendée Globe veteran, Vittorio Malingri, the Swan 65 and her crew arrived in Cape Town, South Africa at 01.48 UTC on 21 October 2023 in 60-knot gusts, having crossed the start line off Southampton on 10 September.

Like many of the Ocean Globe Race teams, the crew faced frustrations due to the windless conditions in the English Channel, Bay of Biscay and off Portugal.

The Translated 9 crew sailed from Southampton to Cape Town in 40 days, 13 hours and 48 minutes

The Translated 9 crew sailed from Southampton to Cape Town in 40 days, 13 hours and 48 minutes

“Our goal was to gain an advantage in corrected time since, in reality, we are the fifth slower boat in the fleet,” explained Malingri.

” We aimed to secure a head start for the upcoming leg, which will be less technical and more about boat speed. Now, we face the task of changing our mast, but our boat is in good shape, with only minor issues to address. This race has been an incredible journey, filled with challenges and moments of camaraderie, as we share weather information and support with other boats and work together,” he added.

Within the IRC rankings, Translated 9 has a two day advantage over provisional second placed, Spirit of Helsinki, which took line honours on leg one and first place in the Sayula Class after racing for 39 days, 2o hours and 10 minutes.

Line honours for the crew of the Swan 651, Spirit of Helsinki. Credit: Jacqueline Kavanagh / OGR 2023

Line honours for the crew of the Swan 651, Spirit of Helsinki. Credit: Jacqueline Kavanagh / OGR 2023

The Finnish crew, who left Southampton without two of their spinnakers after a delivery mix up, didn’t receive any weather information for three weeks, so decided to take “the old fashioned route” on approach to Cape Town; their strategy paid off.

Designed by Sparkman and Stephens, Translated 9 was originally ADC Accutrac, which was skippered by Clare Francis in the 1977 Whitbread Around the World race.

The team is racing in the Flyer Class for boats generally 55ft-68ft LOA and were previously entered in the 1973, 1977 or 1981 Whitbread.

Most of the crew are not professional sailors, although the navigator is Simon Curwen, who took line honours in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, despite having to stop in Chile to make repairs to the windvane steering system of his Biscay 36.

His sailing tactics in the Golden Globe Race saw him demolish the 1,300 mile lead of winner Kirsten Neuschäfer by the equator, and become the first boat to cross the finish line; clearly, his skills have been put to good use on leg one of the Ocean Globe Race.

So far, three of the teams in the Flyer Class have finished.

A crew on board a boat celebrates with champagne

Pen Duick VI was the second yacht to cross the line. The crew took 40 days, 5 hours and 6 minutes to sail from Southampton to Cape Town. Credit: OGR2023/Jacqueline Kavanagh

Pen Duick VI was the second yacht to cross the line, just 9 hours after Spirit of Helsinki.

Skipper Marie Tabarly and her crew had been leading the race but the decision to turn east to Cape Town and approach from the southwest cost the team line honours. Pen Duick IV is currently 4th in the IRC rankings.

Tabarly also had to make a trip to hospital, after she was bitten in the leg by a Cape Fur seal while taking the lines for Translated 9.

“I went to take Translated 9’s lines as they were coming into the dock. There was a big seal lion at the end of the pontoon so I jumped above the seal but he grabbed my leg and I fell into the water. I got back on the pontoon, took the lines and then noticed I had a hole in my leg and I was bleeding everywhere. I now know why they’re called sea lions,” she said.

Continues below…

Like Translated 9, the crew of Maiden faced southeasterly winds over 35 knots and 4-5m seas on their approach to Cape Town.

The all-women crew were just 27 hours behind Translated 9, but are currently 3rd in the IRC rankings.

Skipper Heather Thomas and her team are now making repairs to the Bruce Farr designed 58ft Maxi; the hydraulic pump in the backstay is broken and presently lashed.

Windy conditions on the boat Maiden during the Ocean Globe Race

The crew of Maiden faced winds of over 35 knots on approach to Cape Town. Credit: Maiden/OGR2023

The biggest surprise of the race so far has been the performance of the crew of the Baltic 55, Outlaw.

The team is the only one of the 14-strong Ocean Globe Race fleet to take the more easterly route to Cape Town.

Outlaw, which is skippered by Campbell Mackie, is just 138nm from Cape Town, and should be the next boat to arrive.

The team has a 32-hour time compensation to subtract from their arrival time after they diverted earlier in the race to assist a stranded sailor off the coast of Senegal.

Most of the rest of the Ocean Globe Race fleet is expected to reach Cape Town by the end of the month, ahead of the start of Leg Two – from Cape Town to Auckland – on 5 November 2023.

Under race rules, each team must reach port no later than 48 hours after the restart of the next leg or will be disqualified.

A minimum stop of three days is mandatory, but the clock starts with the gun.

Two teams are currently facing the prospect of disqualification – Godspeed, skippered by US veteran Taylor Grieger, and the crew of Explorer, led by Mark Sinclair.

Both yachts are currently expected to arrive in Cape Town on 5 November 2023.

Positions of the 2023 Ocean Globe Race fleet – Leg One: Southampton to Cape Town at 1200 UTC on 23 October2023. These positions will change under the IRC rating. Line honours shown below. 


Spirit of Helsinki (Finland)
Pen Duick VI (France)
Maiden (UK)
Translated 9 (Italy)

Still racing:

Outlaw (Australia)
L’Esprit d’Equipe (France)
Neptune (France)
Triana (France)
White Shadow (Spain)
Sterna (South Africa)
Evrika (France)
Galiana with Secure (Finland)
Explorer (Australia)
Godspeed (USA)

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