Two of the yachts competing in the Global Ocean Race (GOR) arrived in Cape Town on Friday after a very fast and exciting sail through very challenging conditions.
The crews of BSL and Campagne de France were elated by the adventure and their gruelling achievements. Meanwhile, the remaining four yachts, having been caught in some windless areas, are now heading for Cape Town and are expected to arrive in the next few days. The wind is up and fierce competition is raging for third place. For daily updates and a look at the race tracker, visit the GOR website here.
The ocean environment has changed now the yachts are just above 40˚ South, with large waves, fast winds and some exciting surfing. While they are enjoying wonderful sunny days, the temperature is cool and the nights are cold. Many of us can’t imagine having the courage to volunteer to take on such a challenge but the sailors are elated by the privilege of sailing in their kind of paradise.
Birds are the highlight of the wildlife reports, including wandering, yellow-nosed and sooty albatrosses, Antarctic terns, white-chinned and cape petrels, little shearwaters and broad-billed prions. Like so many mariners before them, GOR sailors are in awe of these noble albatrosses, with their effortless grace and astonishingly calm presence in such an active and sometimes seemingly malevolent world. They glide so gloriously, sweeping up the waves and never once dipping their wings.
Meanwhile, long fronds of giant kelp have been seen floating on the surface of the ocean, sometimes entangling around keels and rudders, slowing the yachts down; it is pretty challenging to free a boat from kelp.
As the first two yachts approached Cape Town they were asked to watch for whales, minimising the risk of collision. The same instruction will be given to the remaining competitors. Once home, they will be able to enjoy seeing the whales in the bay from the comfort of the shore.
It will be exciting to download their images and see what they have captured for EIA’s Eyes of the Ocean programme.