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IMOCAs fully lit in The Ocean Race

Published on February 8th, 2023

(February 8, 2023; Day 15) – It’s been a productive and fast 24 hours for the IMOCA fleet in The Ocean Race as the teams are diving south towards an ice exclusion zone and into the Roaring 40s, named for the area south of 40-degrees latitude where low pressure systems circle the continent of Antarctica unimpeded by land masses.

Conditions have been ripe for speed runs and the top three boats on the ranking have all posted 500+ nautical mile stretches in a 24-hour period.

“It’s very wet, it’s very grey, but we are really, really fast,” said Susann Beucke on Team Holcim-PRB. “We are tying to match with the other boats… They’re pushing a lot so we have to push back.”

Skipper Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team had the best mark according to Race Control, set overnight at 541.7 miles, which is edging into record breaking territory.

(The IMOCA Charal, skippered by 2011-12 winner of The Ocean Race Franck Cammas, holds the uncertified fully crewed record for the class at 558 nautical miles; Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss has a certified mark of 539.71 nautical miles; and The Ocean Race record is Simeon Tienpont’s AkzoNobel at 602 nautical miles).

While speed records are on the table today, conditions are forecast to change dramatically ahead of the finish.

Skipper Will Harris and his Team Malizia grabbed the lead on the rankings as at 1100 UTC, but the truth is the top three boats are very close in terms of tactical position towards the finishing line.

And those behind aren’t out of it. The leading boats are forecast to begin pushing into a ridge of high pressure that has very light winds. The trailing teams, including GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, will bring stronger winds with them from the west, and there is a scenario where all five boats end up very close on final approach to Cape Town overnight on February 11 and into the following day.

But that’s all to come. For today, it’s still a matter of pushing hard, to the southeast, making miles in the strong conditions as long as they last. It’s fast, but it doesn’t make for an easy life on board.

Life on board 11th Hour Racing Team: click here

“Moving from your bunk to the back of the cockpit, which is about five steps, can take about a minute,” explains Jack Bouttell on board 11th Hour Racing Team. “You have to plan each step with coordination as to which handhold you’re going to hang on to.

“And then there is the noise of the boat and how loud the hum is from the foil. The louder the hum, the faster you’re going and the bigger risk of a nosedive following that. There are times you hear the hum come on and you just hold something and don’t move and just wait for the inevitable. And then you can carry on with your day. But cooking, going to the bathroom, changing clothes, it’s all very difficult.”

Leg Two Rankings at 1200 UTC
1. Team Malizia, distance to finish, 1201.3 miles
2. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 4.4 miles
3. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 62.9 miles
4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 222.7 miles
5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, distance to lead, 492.8 miles

Initially, race management predicted a 14-15-day passage time for Leg 2, with the leading boats expected to arrive in Cape Town on or around February 8 or 9. Now the ETA is February 12.

Race detailsRouteTrackerTeamsContent from the boatsYouTube


Charlie ENRIGHT (USA) Skipper
Amory ROSS (USA) – OBR

Paul MEILHAT (FRA) – Skipper

Kevin ESCOFFIER (FRA) – Skipper

Robert STANJEK (GER) – skipper
Sébastien SIMON (FRA)
Anne-Claire LE BERRE (FRA)

Will HARRIS (GBR) – skipper
Rosalin KUIPER (NED)
Nicolas LUNVEN (FRA)
Antoine AURIOL (FRA) – OBR

Leg One Results

1. Team Holcim-PRB, winner leg one, finished – 5d 11h 01m 59s
2. 11th Hour Racing Team, finished – 5d 13h 50m 45s
3. Team Malizia, finished – 5d 16h 35m 21s
4. Biotherm, finished – 6d 8h 47m
5. GUYOT environnement-Team Europe, finished – 6d 12h 20m 37s

1. WindWhisper Racing, finished – 5d 16h 35m 21s
2. Team JAJO, finished – 6d 4h 52m 52s
3. Austrian Ocean Racing-Team Genova, finished – 6d 19h 13m 54s
4. Ambersail 2, finished – 6d 21h 49m 04s
5. Viva Mexico, finished – 8d 13h 50m 25s
6. Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team – Retired from leg

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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