Finish line sprint for The Ocean Race

Published on January 19th, 2023

(January 19, 2023; Day 5) – The leading IMOCAs in The Ocean Race are expected to finish Leg 1 in Cabo Verde by late Friday night and into Saturday morning (January 20-21) as the fleet eats up the miles on ‘the highway’ south.

Both IMOCA and VO65 fleets have been winding their way past the Canary Islands with now open ocean to the finish line.

“We are going past the Canary Islands,” said skipper Kevin Escoffier early today. “11th Hour Racing Team is the closest boat and they are following us so I think we are safe (in the lead).”

Watch on Team Holcim – PRB: click here
Watch on 11th Hour Race Team: click here

“The crew is very good,” added Escoffier. “We have caught up on the watch system about 36 hours, which was difficult to get into right after the start with the hard conditions. We are happy with where we are even if it is definitely not finished yet.”

Chasing the leading pair is Team Malizia: click here

“All the boat is working. We had a few issues earlier,” said Will Harris on Team Malizia. “Now it’s manageable so it’s pretty perfect. Enjoying the highway south. It’s pretty nice.”

That said, domestic duties are still a challenge at these speeds.

“We just went 33 knots,” said Annie Lush from on board GUYOT environnement -Team Europe. “But sometimes we suddenly decelerate down to about 20 knots, which makes using the stove and hot water on board tricky!”

In the VO65 fleet, the top three teams are within 40 miles, with WindWhisper leading Team JAJO and Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team.

“We placed our bet, gybing south before Tenerife,” wrote WindWhisper navigator Asked Magdahl. “Weather models changed a lot to allow for a more easterly routing down the African coast, suggesting a gybe south amongst the western Canary Islands… I expect strong breeze between Tenerife and Gran Canaria, and with the shipping lane preventing us from making long gybes and possibly forcing sail changes, it will be everyone on deck for 6-8 hours.”

WindWhisper was followed by Team JAJO winding through the islands, while Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team elected to chase the leading IMOCAs to the west of the islands, looking for fast downwind sailing.

Get on board with WindWhisper Racing: click here

“We are in the perfect conditions for this boat, 20-25 knots downwind, big waves and going fast in the direction we want to go – to Cabo Verde,” said an exuberant Federico Melo from on board Mirpuri Foundation Race Team.

The leading trio is due to arrive in Cabo Verde on January 21, with Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova and Ambersail 2 several hours back. Viva Mexico is now in the Atlantic, but over 750 miles behind.

Race detailsRouteTrackerTeamsContent from the boatsYouTube

Rankings at 1500 GMT
1. Team Holcim-PRB, 565.5 miles to finish
2. 11th Hour Racing Team, 49.2 miles to leader
3. Team Malizia, 102.6 miles to leader
4. Biotherm, 185.8 miles to leader
5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, 221.4 miles to leader

1. WindWhisper Racing, 694.9 miles to finish
2. Team JAJO, 31.1 miles to leader
3. Mirpuri Foundation Race Team, 39.3 miles to leader
4. Austrian Ocean Race – Team Genova, 106.3 miles to leader
5. Ambersail 2, 152.7 miles to leader
6. Viva Mexico, 767.1 miles to leader

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 start: January 15, 2023
Cabo Verde – ETA: January 22; Leg 2 start: January 25
Cape Town, South Africa – ETA: February 9; Leg 3 start: February 26 or 27 (TBC)
Itajaí, Brazil – ETA: April 1; Leg 4 start: April 23
Newport, RI, USA – ETA: May 10; Leg 5 start: May 21
Aarhus, Denmark – ETA: May 30; Leg 6 start: June 8
Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) – June 9
The Hague, The Netherlands – ETA: June 11; Leg 7 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.

Source: The Ocean Race

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