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Angry weather ahead for The Ocean Race

Published on March 20th, 2023

(March 20, 2023; Day 23) – The four IMOCAs pushing east through the southern latitudes of the Pacific Ocean are seeing better speeds today, following a weekend of light winds.

Racing along the ice exclusion limit at 52-degrees south, The Ocean Race teams are in 15 to 25 knots of wind, and average speeds are back up near 20 knots.

The light winds had brought the boats together, with just 3.5 nm north to south and 4 nm difference in longitude. In short, not much in the third week of Leg 3.

“We are quite fast,” said Kevin Escoffier on the leading Team Holcim-PRB. “I think when we are close to the other boats, we are okay with the speed… But each time we get fast and away from the others, they come back with wind from behind.”

“We are going well, almost in the middle of the Pacific…” said Nico Lunven from Team Malizia. “The fleet is very compressed together so we are able to monitor the other boats quite well to check whether we are sailing faster or slower, higher or lower than the others.”

“It’s all very close, the fleet is back together, it’s like a complete re-start,”agreed Justine Mettreaux on 11th Hour Racing Team. “It’s going to be interesting. A lot to play for over the coming days.”

“It’s crazy,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “Despite the fact that there are these boats right here (beside us), we are just trying to race ourselves, not change our philosophy. There is a lot of race left and particularly before Cape Horn we know that there is going to be some big weather. So we really want to keep this boat in one piece and we’ll go from there.”

The longer range forecast is for more ‘Southern Ocean’ type conditions on the approach to Cape Horn next weekend, when the fleet will be squeezed between an ice exclusion zone that is unusually far north due to confirmed ice sightings and perhaps the most infamous rocky outcropping in the world, which will force them to dive far to the south, dipping as far as 57-degrees south.

Very strong westerly winds – and an accompanying sea state upwards of six metres – is the current prediction for Cape Horn, so the sailors have enjoyed their last days of relative calm with two weeks of racing left to Itajaí, Brazil.

Leg Three Rankings at 19:00 UTC
1. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 4457.6 nm
2. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, .7 nm
3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 1.6 nm
4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 4.3 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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