Chichester skipper makes his mark

Chichester sailor Olly Osborne
Chichester sailor Olly Osborne
This is what Alex Thomson Racing could look like in Haslar Marina, if planning permission is given. Picture: HGP / Dean and Reddyhoff

£5m plan will turn Gosport’s Haslar Marina into ‘world-class’ centre of sailing

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Chichester skipper Olly Osborne is moving up the leaderboard in the Clipper 11-12 round the world yacht race.

The 30-year-old took his crew aboard Visit Finland across the finish line in Cape Town, South Africa, earlier this week to take their second podium place in the three legs to date.

Their second spot on the 3,300-mile stage from Rio now sits alongside the second they earned on the first leg from Southampton to Madeira.

Despite a dip in form on the second leg – from Madeira to Rio – when Visit Finland posted a fifth in the 10-boat fleet, Osborne and his ever-changing crew have shown themselves to be real contenders.

A seriously-shredded spinnaker and changing conditions made the race in to Cape Town a tense time.

They were under constant threat from the Dutch entry De Lage Landen as the four-hour schedules rolled around.

‘It really was right down to the wire with De Lage Landen hot on our heels for the last week,’ said Osborne.

‘It was punch for punch and we were more or less equal at the scheds.

‘I really thought they had us at one stage but we just pipped them.’

The final few miles were particularly difficult in light airs in the wind shadow cast by Table Mountain.

‘It was pretty heartbreaking to be honest,’ said Osborne.

‘Everybody had it in their mind that we’d done it and then the wind just switched off.

‘So it was sail changes and all action again. Just clawing those last few miles was a real challenge.’

Southsea skipper Juan Coetzer has struggled on this leg and looks set for a ninth-place finish aboard Geraldton Western Australia.

Gold Coast Australia has a hat-trick of wins in the three legs to date.