All together again in The Ocean Race

Published on March 16th, 2023

(March 16, 2023; Day 19) – Team Holcim PRB retains its lead in The Ocean Race as the fleet compresses in the South Pacific. As per the forecast yesterday, the leader is slowing slightly and the trailing boats are nibbling into the lead, but little has changed in the big picture over the past 24 hours.

“We knew that everyone would close up on us from behind so the only solution for us has been to keep pressing forward as fast as possible,” said Team Holcim PRB skipper Kevin Escoffier. “That’s why we chose to stay south. I think if we are still a little bit ahead of the other boats, it is because we made that choice, so I’m happy with what we have done.

“The next day we will be in a light spot and after that we will be reaching along the ice exclusion zone limit, but further ahead, the weather models are not clear.”

Team Malizia continues to be the biggest threat to the leader, positioned 60 miles north but nearly in line in terms of distance to the east. Biotherm and 11th Hour Racing Team are further back but diving south of the leader.

The teams are around the halfway point on this mammoth leg 3 – the longest stage in race history – with an ETA at Cape Horn still 11 days and some 4000 nautical miles away. The forecast over the next three days is for lighter conditions that will see more compression on the leaderboard as well as an opportunity for repairs.

“We have had the time to assess the damage we have had over the past days,” said Justine Mettraux. “We will make the most of (the light period) to fix the mainsail and one of the rudders and do a big check over the rest of the boat to be in good shape for the rest of the leg. We’ve had the time to think about what we want to do and make a priority list and a good plan for what we want to do.”

She confirmed the team has made a plan with their sailmakers to repair the luff tear at the first reef which has forced them to sail with a double reef. If all goes well, they will be able to use the sail at 100 percent capacity.

Meanwhile, nearly halfway around the world, GUYOT envrionnement – Team Europe took a significant step towards rejoining the fleet in Brazil this morning when the team slipped lines from the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town to start its westward delivery sail to Itajai. This follows a significant repair to the boat structure that knocked the team out of leg 3.

“In the end we were very lucky in how we could manage this crisis,” said co-skipper Robert Stanjek. “We had the right things available in Cape Town for this – the shore team, boat builders, material – and the repair job went smoothly.”

“It was a very big job and we had a lot of things to do to get the boat back in the water,” added skipper Benjamin Dutreux. “When we lifted the boat out we discovered a big area had been completely delaminated.

“It would normally take about a month to do this work in a boatyard, but we managed it in more like one week… It was an amazing team-building job. It was frustrating but in the end everyone is looking forward with the same goal to get to Itajaí and continue in the race.” For more from the team, click here.

Leg Three Rankings at 19:00 UTC
1. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 5902.2 nm
2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 35.9 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 59.4 nm
4. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 71.5 nm
GUYOT environnement – withdrawn from Leg 3

Race detailsRouteTrackerTeamsContent from the boatsYouTube

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.

Source: The Ocean Race

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