Cape Town, November 5, 2023, 00:19 AM
48 days 5 hours 52 minutes 33 seconds
The first leg of the Ocean Globe Race – from Southampton (UK) to Cape Town (South Africa) – turned out to be just as I had anticipated, even though I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Sailing in gentle light breezy winds, sailing through strong winds. Embracing the tropical warmth of the days and marvelling at the beauty of the starry nights. Sailing, sailing and more sailing. It was truly wonderful! As our team has been together for four years, we know the boat and each other inside out. The sailing itself presented us with few surprises and we got along surprisingly well in the snug quarters of our boat.
I think the biggest challenge was the time this leg took. We had initially estimated five to seven weeks but ended up using the entire duration. At one point, it looked like it would take even longer, and we feared we would miss the start of the next leg. Despite the disappointment, we chose to focus on taking it one day at a time. We had done everything in our power, but the unfavourable weather, including headwinds after crossing the equator, held us back for more than three weeks and kept us continuously on the port tack (wind from the left). On the bright side, though, this situation inspired me to write new lyrics for a classic Finnish blues-rock song.
Fortunately, our patience paid off when we finally got the westerly winds we had been longing for. The final stretch across the South Atlantic felt like a scene out of a movie, catapulting us into sixth place in the fleet.
We have just spent a busy week in Cape Town preparing the boat for the next leg to Auckland, New Zealand. The to-do list is endless, but we’ve managed to tick off all the important points. Bring it on – we’re ready! Interestingly, for our team, the calm, sweltering heat in the tropics posed probably a greater challenge than the cold, wet and stormy weather that awaits us in the Southern Ocean. After all, we are Finns, and the November conditions are pretty familiar to us. But I am also looking forward to celebrating Christmas in Auckland in the middle of summer – it will be an exotic experience for us!