It was an extraordinary ‘stop-go’ type of start to Leg 3 of The Ocean Race in Table Bay as the five-boat IMOCA fleet set out on their 12,750 nautical mile adventure towards Itajaí in Brazil.
The race started with two and a half laps of an inshore course to give the crowds lining the Cape Town shore an opportunity to marvel at these hydrofoiling boats before they headed out into the big blue yonder of the Southern Ocean.
A pod of three whales sighted in the original starting area meant the race committee had to make a late change to setting up the race course. With the start line now impacted by the wind shadow of Table Mountain, there was very little wind for the fleet as the seconds counted down to start time.
Once the fleet was back into the breeze, it was another gusty, edge-of-the-seat downwind ride to the bottom of the course, the boats just maintaining control in the strong, blustery conditions. At some moments, two reefs didn’t look like enough with the boats nearly overpowered.
Meanwhile, out at sea, Team Malizia was the first to find the wind around the headlands off Cape Town and started to make their way on Leg 3, along with Team Holcim-PRB and GUYOT environnement – Team Europe.
The forecast is for winds in the 25-30 knot range with 2-3 metre swells.
Leg 3 is proving to be a challenge in the very first hours.
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