Light winds restart The Ocean Race

After beating upwind into the teeth of a gale last night, things have slowed down for The Ocean Race fleet – now back up to a full complement of five racing boats – by this morning.

Yesterday, as teams dealt with high winds and multiple mark roundings after the start, both 11th Hour Racing Team and Biotherm rejoined the race after making repairs.

Skipper Charlie Enright had his 11th Hour Racing Team ready to go as soon as the mandatory two-hour period expired. But for Paul Meilhat, it took longer to source supplies and start the repairs, but he was able to leave the dock just before midnight in Cape Town and restart a few minutes later at 22:21 UTC.

The light conditions have allowed Meilhat and his team to close the gap significantly already, showing the wisdom of the decision to take a short break to ensure his boat is ready for the rigors ahead. Repairs continue on board.

The five IMOCA crews bumped into a small ridge of high pressure and the light winds associated with it. They’ll have to push through this to get south and into the higher latitudes of the Roaring 40s to pick up the train of low pressure systems that will deliver them around Antarctica and towards Cape Horn on this longest leg in race history.

But there is another obstacle as well. A very strong eddy from the Agulhas current – has at times been pushing the boats north at up to four knots. 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia appear to have been particularly punished by this.

Finally, when the teams do make it to the south, they’ll face some of the strongest winds and fearsome seas they’ve seen in the Race.

By noon tomorrow, the wind is forecast to be near 40 knots, with waves of up to six metres. I

Kevin Escoffier and his Team Holcim – PRB are in a familiar position at the front of the fleet, perhaps just nosing through the ridge, with Benjamin Dutreux and Robert Stanjek’s GUYOT environnement – Team Europe very close behind.

The next 24 to 36 hours will be a fascinating period in this race.

Leg Three Rankings at 2000 UTC
1. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 12894.2 nm
2. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, distance to lead, 18.0 nm
3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 48.6 nm
4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 56.8 nm
5. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 58.5 nm

Note: The distance to lead will be suspect until the teams start aiming at the finish.


IMOCA: Boat, Design, Skipper, Launch date
• Guyot Environnement – Team Europe (VPLP Verdier); Benjamin Dutreux (FRA)/Robert Stanjek (GER); September 1, 2015
• 11th Hour Racing Team (Guillaume Verdier); Charlie Enright (USA); August 24, 2021
• Holcim-PRB (Guillaume Verdier); Kevin Escoffier (FRA); May 8, 2022
• Team Malizia (VPLP); Boris Herrmann (GER); July 19, 2022
• Biotherm (Guillaume Verdier); Paul Meilhat (FRA); August 31 2022

The Ocean Race 2022-23 Race Schedule:
Alicante, Spain – Leg 1 (1900 nm) start: January 15, 2023
Cabo Verde – ETA: January 22; Leg 2 (4600 nm) start: January 25
Cape Town, South Africa – ETA: February 9; Leg 3 (12750 nm) start: February 26
Itajaí, Brazil – ETA: April 1; Leg 4 (5500 nm) start: April 23
Newport, RI, USA – ETA: May 10; Leg 5 (3500 nm) start: May 21
Aarhus, Denmark – ETA: May 30; Leg 6 (800 nm) start: June 8
Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) – June 9
The Hague, The Netherlands – ETA: June 11; Leg 7 (2200 nm) start: June 15
Genova, Italy – The Grand Finale – ETA: June 25, 2023; Final In-Port Race: July 1, 2023

The Ocean Race (formerly Volvo Ocean Race and Whitbread Round the World Race) was initially to be raced in two classes of boats: the high-performance, foiling, IMOCA 60 class and the one-design VO65 class which has been used for the last two editions of the race.

However, only the IMOCAs will be racing round the world while the VO65s will race in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint which competes in Legs 1, 6, and 7 of The Ocean Race course.

Additionally, The Ocean Race also features the In-Port Series with races at seven of the course’s stopover cities around the world which allow local fans to get up close and personal to the teams as they battle it out around a short inshore course.

Although in-port races do not count towards a team’s overall points score, they do play an important part in the overall rankings as the In-Port Race Series standings are used to break any points ties that occur during the race around the world.

The 14th edition of The Ocean Race was originally planned for 2021-22 but was postponed one year due to the pandemic, with the first leg starting on January 15, 2023.

Published on February 27th, 2023


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