It is the stage finale that the German team would hardly have dared to dream of at its race debut: A few hours before the finish of the first leg of The Ocean Race Europe, the outcome is completely open. Cascais in Portugal is expecting a final thriller, and Offshore Team Germany around Berlin skipper Robert Stanjek is right in the middle of it after a terrific night’s catch-up.
It has come as the weather experts predicted: The wind edge approaching the Portuguese coast determines the finish, and the chasers have used the favour of the hour to catch up with the top teams. The biggest leap was made by Offshore Team Germany. After the crew around skipper Stanjek, youngster Phillip Kasüske from Berlin, Briton Annie Lush and Frenchman Benjamin Dutreux had trailed by around 100 miles at the virtual waypoint in the Atlantic, as the modern foiling Imocas of the opponents had taken advantage of the conditions tailor-made for them, they sounded the attack.
Even without foils, the „Einstein“ was the fastest boat in the fleet, not only catching up but also laying out the strategy for the final hours of the race. At a deep angle, the OTG team sagged south to now have the supposedly better angle to enter Cascais against the northern competition of „Corum L’Èpargne“ (France) and „Bureau Vallée“ (France). The German yacht is now chasing the finish line right next to the favourites from „11th Hour Racing“ (USA) and „LinkedOut“ (France).
Around 75 miles were still to be covered in the morning (8 a.m., German time), arrival is announced for around noon. Everything is still possible for „Einstein“ in the field of five Imocas – from a fifth place, but also that the white racer will lead the „Kiel“ logo, which it carries on its bow, to Cascais in a top position. The traffic separation area in front of Cascais builds up as an additional obstacle to be bypassed to the north or south. After almost four days at sea, Bremen onboard reporter Felix Diemer will capture the tight finish from the yacht in photos and videos.