5.7 miles: this is the tiny distance in view of the length of the stage (7000 miles) which this morning separates the leader SEC HAYAI and his pursuer MILAI Around The World. Remarkable performance for SEC HAYAI, the oldest boat in the fleet which was the first to reach Cape Leeuwin. After 3,500 miles covered since leaving Mauritius on September 11, the competitors had to cross the gate of Eclipse Island at the southwestern tip of Australia. Bringing the competitors close to land after the equivalent of a transatlantic passage, this passage allowed the event to remain in the spirit in category 1 (navigation category fixed by the International Federation) which is both the rule and the concept of the test, rather than diving south.
The Great Australian Bight is a huge bay in southern Australia stretching over 1000 miles before entering the Baas Strait which separates the island mainland from Tasmania. This crossing was a difficult time for the crews, most of the time sailing close-hauled with a succession of calm areas and depressions generating winds of 30 to 40 knots on the fleet, all in very heavy seas.
The dutch team SEC HAYAI perfectly expresses the values of the GLOBE40: a mixed team with skipper Frans Budel, an experienced amateur with many offshore races to his credit, and Ysbrand Endt, a professional skipper from the world of the Volvo Ocean Race. ; old boat (n°44) but perfectly prepared, flawless strategy, great team cohesion: these are the recipes for this success which demonstrates that the fierceness of the competition does not only depend on the age of the boats; and that a world tour is apprehended on many other factors than the pure performance of a support, such as the quality of the technical preparation, the endurance of the crew, the lucidity to lower the foot when it you have to, but never let go with the inevitable drop in morale.
For its part, MILAI Around The World, with its Japanese skipper Masa Suzuki and its Italian co-skipper Luca Rosetti, is a high-level project on a more recent boat (n°101); Masa Suzuki, coming from the world of the mini 6.50, has also had a remarkable career for a few years and we remember his performance at the last Transat Jacques Vabre where he regularly moved around 10th place against a pack of new boats.
The two competitors crossed the Bass Strait on Friday: a narrow passage with a strong current, an accelerator corridor for depressions, the Bass Strait is a difficult navigation area with many islands; it is often associated in the minds of the mythical Sydney – Hobart event, a particularly demanding event of world renown. And it was during the crossing of the Baas Strait that the first two competitors officially entered the Pacific Ocean reaching the longitude of 146°49.00 East.
And the fierceness of the competition does not only affect the head of the fleet since barely 200 miles separate the leaders from the American competitor AMHAS and another 100 miles with the two other Canadian / Spanish competitors WHISKEY JACK and American / Italian GRYPHON SOLO2.
There will still be the Tasman Sea to cross over 1000 miles, with a new strong depression awaiting the competitors on sunday, before reaching Auckland for the first around October 14th, and finally knowing the winner of this legendary leg.
ECHOES FROM THE SEA
SEC HAYAI: “We’re really happy so far! we have the oldest boat in the fleet and have been in the lead for several days now. It’s a close battle with MILAI, now with an 8.8 mile lead! But we know that basically MILAI is a faster boat (all others are but, specially Milai). We have to fight for every mile and we have to push SEC HAYAI hard, but now it’s a very strong boat and it helps to go further than the others. We also have to make good tactical decisions to stay ahead of the others.
We still have a long way to go! so we are still far from any victory. But we are proud to be where we are now, taking every step to the number one boat in the fleet. Entering the Pacific will be the next point, still 15 miles ahead (by hitting hard).
We are therefore happy and full of energy to make the crossing to New Zealand and arrive in Auckland. »
MILAI Around The World : “We are passing Bass Strait with SEC HAYAI, they are only 13 miles ahead of us. We have covered over 5,000 miles from Mauritius in 25 days.
SEC HAYAI and we are still very close and we will keep a good motivation until Auckland. No one knows who will WIN. Exciting ! »