Samsung and Me to You were first over the start line - but unfortunately for them, too soon. Both teams will be penalised with a plain penalty of 720 degrees at the first waypoint.
It was a windward start for the fleet with a localised sea breeze, of 15 knots from the south east. There was a big squeeze at the committee boat end of the start line enabling VAIO, BG SPIRIT and Pindar to have the best starts (3rd, 4th and 5th over the start line respectively).
The yachts will soon be in lighter airs off the Argentine coast and will encounter light conditions for the next few days.
Sunny and calm days are forecast for the next 300 - 400 miles. What they will now need to do is to stay alert as the capacity to make big gains on less attentive crews will be available in the lighter stuff. As they get to around 30 - 42 degrees south they should start to encounter strong winds from the northwest and the big ride will officially begin.
The fleet is currently racing out of the River Plate and towards the Strait de la Mare where their first big tactical decision - to go through the Straits or around Ilhas de los Estados. If unfavourable tides are anticipated through the Straits then it will be necessary to avoid them by going around Ilhas de los Estados, thereby adding around 70 miles to the voyage.
As the yachts passed the first waypoints, reports came back that they were all racing under Yankee 1 and Staysail apart from Samsung and VAIO who were using genoas.
Beunos Aires was described by Andrew ROBERTS, Challenge Business' Project Director, as one of the best stopovers in the event's history. A veteran of all four Global Challenges, Roberts was delighted with the start, which set sail without a hitch on a warm, sunny Argentinean day. More than 1,000 people flocked to the port for a huge send off with local vicar Martin Ricker blessing the fleet and sprinkling holy water on the yachts.
Maybe holy water is what they need as they delve ever closer into the Southern Ocean and the vast unknown. They are less than a handful of crew - skipper and crew alike - out of the entire fleet who have sailed into the Southern Ocean so nerves were running high: '(For us) it's a voyage into the unknown,' explained Rachel Morgan, a core Crew Volunteer aboard Spirit of Sark. 'Once we've got this stretch of the Southern Ocean out of the way then at least we know what we can expect in the second Southern Ocean leg.'
The race viewer showed the following positions:
1. Spirit of Sark
2. SAIC La Jolla
4. Barclays Adventurer
5. Team Save the Children
7. BG SPIRIT
8. Imagine It. Done
9. Team Stelmar
10. Me to You