Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team clinch leg three victory in Genova to consolidate their position at the top of The Ocean Race Europe leader board on 18 points, with AkzoNobel Ocean Racing second on 17 points.
It was pitch black in Genova when the Portuguese team, led by French offshore skipper Yoann Richomme, finished the 600 nautical-mile (nm) Mediterranean leg from Alicante, Spain after around three and a half days of racing – predominantly in light and fickle winds – since leaving Alicante on Sunday.
Hours earlier Richomme’s crew – who started leg three tied on 11 points with AkzoNobel Ocean Racing at the top of the VO65 leader board – had been in third place, 10nm behind the long-time fleet leader Sailing Poland (POL), skippered by Bouwe Bekking (NED), and four nautical miles adrift of the second placed Netherlands entry Team Childhood I, led by Dutchman Simeon Tienpont.
Sensing that the breeze along the Italian coast would fade away as night fell, the Portuguese team made the bold decision to tack away from the fleet in search of new wind further offshore.
The gambit paid huge dividends as they were eventually able to tack back towards Genova in the best breeze of the evening, and within a couple of hours had leapfrogged themselves into the lead.
Also benefitting from the offshore route was Chris Nicholson’s AkzoNobel Ocean Racing.
The Netherlands team was in fifth place before heading offshore in parallel with Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, but soon moved up to second as the new breeze brought them powering in from the southeast, overtaking Erik Brockmann’s Viva Mexico (MEX), Team Childhood I, and Sailing Poland to take second place.
In contrast to the excitement aboard the first two finishers, there will be disappointment for the Sailing Poland crew who had led the VO65s since early in the leg, but as a result of the late-stage re-shuffle appear likely to drop back to third place and are the next team expected to finish overnight.
The IMOCA 60 fleet is expected to start arriving in Genova from early afternoon local time.
At 04:30 local the leader, Robert Stanjek’s Offshore Team Germany (GER), had 50nm still to race, with Charlie Enright’s American entry 11th Hour Racing Team a further 35nm back in second, and Thomas Ruyant’s LinkedOut (FRA) around three miles further back in third.
The Ocean Race Europe – Alicante to Genova 17 June updated 19:00 hrs
1st Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team
2nd AkzoNobel Ocean Racing
3rd Sailing Poland
4th Team Childhood I
5th Viva México
7th The Austrian Ocean Race Project
1st Offshore Team Germany
3rd 11th Hour Racing Team
4th Bureau Vallée
5th CORUM L’ Épargne