One day into the Portimao Global Ocean Race and Belgium's Michel Kleinjans is leading
Twenty four hours into the Portimao Global Ocean Race and Belgium’s Michel Kleinjans is giving his fellow competitors a lesson on round-the-world racing.
After a conservative start off Portimao, Kleinjans rocketed to the front of the fleet. Sailing closer to the beach on the way to the first mandatory gate at Sagres, Kleinjans aboard his Open 40, Roaring Forty, was able to match the leaders boat for boat. As they approached the waypoint that marked the southern end of the gate, Roaring Forty enjoyed a better wind angle and was soon well in the lead claiming the first of many cape roundings as his own.
The wind died with the setting sun and speeds dropped, but Roaring Forty kept putting distance on the rest of the pack. “As I expected, the combination of a bit more sail area with my mast being bigger than before, and probably a weight advantage as I am alone and this boat is some 300 kilograms lighter then the Class 40 boats, makes for a good light weather combination,” said Kleinjans. “So the first part of the race to Sagres, which was pretty straightforward, showed already some potential although it was just a very little battle in comparison to things to come.”
Roaring Forty is one of two Open 40’s in the race (the other being Hayai) meaning that they were designed under an old rule that allowed carbon fiber to be used in the hull. The result was a light, strong boat that could carry a generous amount of sail area, all good attributes for light wind racing. Add to that Michel is only carrying supplies for one person, rather than two, and that explains somewhat why he is in the lead although any good sailor knows it’s never quite that simple.
After rounding the waypoint off Sagres the fleet headed south on a course that paralleled the African coast, and by daybreak this morning a steady northerly wind had kicked in. To protect his lead Michel gybed downwind playing the game that every dinghy sailor understands; always stay between your competition and the next mark. It was a tactic that paid off perfectly.
Leaderboard at 1530 UTC Monday, 13 October
Roaring Forty – distance to finish 6153 nautical miles
Beluga Racer – distance to finish 6177 nautical miles
Desafia Cabo de Hornos – distance to finish 6109 nautical miles
Kazimir Partners – distance to finish 6193 nautical miles
Hayai – distance to finish 6200 nautical miles
Team Mowgli – distance to finish 6206 nautical miles
For more information, visit www.portimaorace.com .