The crew of Visit Finland, skippered by Chichester-based Olly Osborne, have put in another impressive performance to secure their third podium place of the Clipper 11-12 round-the-world yacht race.
In sixth place just four days earlier, the team climbed their way through the ten-strong fleet to complete the 3,800-mile race from Geraldton, Western Australia, to Tauranga, New Zealand, in second place.
The result keeps the team in second place overall in the 15-race series. Overall leaders Gold Coast Australia won the race – their fifth consecutive victory in Clipper 11-12.
Race five saw all ten crews face the full fury of Mother Nature as they raced across the Southern Ocean, riding out storms and surfing waves as tall as buildings.
As they battled their way up the east coast of New Zealand, the stripped-down 68ft yachts faced strong winds with squalls gusting out of nowhere, as well as spells of no wind at all.
With five miles to go, a brief wind hole stalled Visit Finland’s progress towards the finish line but just moments later the team were dropping sails as quickly as they could when the breeze filled in to 50 knots.
Arriving in Tauranga Bridge Marina, Osborne said: “It’s been a pretty full-on few days, trying to find our way round East Cape. It just so happened we found ourselves in a good place. The weather is so unpredictable, it is luck of the draw and a lot of perseverance.
“We had a pretty good run down the Australian coast and down into the Forties with the big following seas but I really had no idea it was going to be so tough getting up the coast of New Zealand. It was insane.
“We’re really, really happy. At one stage during this race I’d have been happy to just get here but to be second is a real result for us – it wasn’t something I’d anticipated until we saw the little opportunity and went for it.”