Re-start for The Ocean Race
Published on March 17th, 2023
(March 17, 2023; Day 20) – As forecast, lighter than usual conditions just ahead of The Ocean Race fleet have provided an effective re-start of leg 3, just after the four IMOCAs reached the halfway point of the longest stage in the history of the race.
These are unusual conditions for the ‘Furious 50s’, the waters in the latitudes south of 50-degrees where strong winds and towering seas are the norm.
But today, the teams are racing in much easier conditions, separated by just 30 nautical miles, and Team Holcim-PRB has seen a lead that at one point had stretched to 600 miles, now cut to less than ten.
Skipper Kevin Escoffier knows his fate is largely due to weather conditions outside his control – a brick wall of light winds to the east that slows the leader more than the chasing pack. But he also feels his team could have been sailing better this week.
“I think we are not as focused or precise in terms of how we are sailing compared to before,” he said. “We’ve discussed this and now we are back to how we were doing it earlier. Things like having small debriefings after each watch, writing down our goals each time, it’s essential to do that.
“As for Malizia, we haven’t been looking that much at them because they do not have the same wind as us for a few days now…”
Boris Herrmann’s Malizia team is only seven miles out of the lead and 30 miles to the north, having gained over thirty miles in the past 24 hours.
“It has been our plan to be in the north so we have the ability to come down at a good angle to the ice exclusion zone,” said Nico Lunven on Team Malizia. “With this wind speed it is quite nice. But it is already getting a bit light closer to the high pressure.”
This is something the entire fleet will deal with over the weekend. But the benign conditions are also an opportunity for boat checks and repairs.
“The next few days will be progressively lighter and not to be blunt, but we have a lot of work to do on Malama,” was the update from 11th Hour Racing Team media crew Amory Ross, as the team plans to repair its mainsail and at least one rudder.
The light winds will dominate the forecast this weekend, with relief coming early in the week.
Leg Three Rankings at 22:07 UTC
1. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 5457.3 nm
2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, .4 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 2.4 nm
4. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 11.2 nm
GUYOT environnement – withdrawn from Leg 3
Race details – Route – Tracker – Teams – Content from the boats – YouTube
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