Beluga Racer has taken line honours to win the Portimão Global Ocean Race's first leg

Beluga Racer has taken line honours to win the Portimão Global Ocean Race’s first leg. Desafio Cabo de Hornos crossed the line three hours later.

The German team of Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme did a superb job all the way to the finish line coaxing everything they could out of their stunning blue and white Class 40.

“We just had a great time,” Boris said. “The sailing was really nice and Felix and I got on so well. We were never bored, not even for one minute.”

“However, it was really hard to watch the Chileans eat away at our lead,” Felix added. “We had a good lead but they were in a completely different weather pattern and there was nothing we could do about it until they got close to us. Fortunately our wind filled in from a good direction and sometime late yesterday we started to believe that we might win the leg.”

Beluga Racer led from the outset and other than a very short period just south of the Canary Islands when Desafio Cabo de Hornos took the lead, Boris and Felix dominated. Some strange weather in the South Atlantic gave them a few days of unnecessary heartburn but in the end they held off a late leg charge from the Chileans and took the leg.

Three hours later Felipe Cubillos and José Muñoz drove their brand new Class 40 Desafio Cabo de Hornos across the finish line. “We raced them all the way to the finish,” Felipe said. “Some of our weather models gave us the win while others gave Beluga Racer the victory. We had to keep pushing all the way until we knew it was hopeless, and then we kept on pushing.” Desafio Cabo de Hornos finished a scant three hours astern of Beluga Racer, a slight margin after 35 days of racing. “We had no problems at all,” said José Muñoz. “The boat was perfect all the way. No problems. We could leave in a few days if we had to. We are now ready for the Southern Ocean.”

Team Mowgli (GBR) took third place, arriving in Cape Town at 09:22 GMT this morning (17 November).