Global Ocean Race Leaders Arrive in Capital

16 January 2009

The two leading yachts in the Portimao Global Ocean Race have now safely arrived at Queen's Wharf after a gruelling 6,900-mile journey to the Capital from Cape Town.

The German team Beluga Racer crossed the finish line at just after 3.00am this morning to claim victory in Leg 2 of the round-the-world race. The German duo of Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme, who are the youngest competitors in race, were greeted by a small but enthusiastic crowd on Queen's Wharf.

Around three hours later they were joined by their arch-rivals, the Chilean team Desafio Cabo de Hornos. The two boats were neck and neck for much of their 32-day journey across the surging Southern Ocean and the Chileans looked to have a real chance of victory after making huge gains on Wednesday as Beluga Racer struggled with damage to its spinnaker.

However the sail managed to hold on and after passing Farewell Spit at midnight on Wednesday, the Germans encountered perfect sailing conditions and pulled away to an unassailable lead.

The next two competitors are expected to arrive in Wellington this Wednesday and Wellington City Council is hoping for a good spectator turn out to cheer them on.