The Ocean Race: So close, So far
Published on March 21st, 2023
(March 21, 2023; Day 24) – The Ocean Race teams en route to Cape Horn are approaching Point Nemo, with the four IMOCAs all posting speeds in the high teens.
Defined as the most isolated, remote place on earth, Point Nemo is a spot in south Pacific Ocean, 2,688 kilometres from the nearest land. In fact, the closest sign of civilization is the International Space Station, orbiting just over 400 kilometres above the sailors.
But it is unlikely the crews are feeling lonely. To the contrary, the race is as close as one could imagine. After more than three weeks of racing, the spread from first to fourth is still under nine nm on the race tracker leaderboard.
“It’s an historic day today,” said skipper Boris Herrmann. “The battle of Point Nemo! We can see all the boats here through our windows. They are just a few boatlengths away and we’re all racing towards Point Nemo. It’s amazing to be sailing so close to our friends!”
The crew on long time leader Team Holcim-PRB has come to terms with how the vagaries of the weather has meant a lead of nearly 600 miles has disappeared. But sailor Abby Ehler says they’ve been prepared to see the rest of the fleet catch them for some time now.
“The writing was on the wall a week ago that the fleet would catch us up so it was only a matter of time, that’s just how the weather systems roll,” she wrote. “It’s actually nice to be back in the fleet, it intensifies things and we’re definitely more on guard. Not to say we got lazy, more that it’s harder to benchmark speed and angles when you are flying solo.
“We have another couple of days of moderate downwind conditions and then we’re in for some heavy air downwind sailing… We’ve tried to plot a route around Cape Horn that keeps us in less than 35 knots but that has proved impossible so here goes!”
The forecast does get quite aggressive for the rest of the week. As Ehler notes, building westerly winds will be combined with a sea state – especially further south – that’s predicted to be over 6 metres.
“We’ll have to manage the routing to avoid the worst and still arrive as fast as we can,” reports Paul Meilhat on board Biotherm.
The ETA at Cape Horn remains late UTC on March 26 and at the finish on April 1 or 2 in Itajaí, Brazil.
Leg Three Rankings at 20:00 UTC
1. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 4020.9 nm
2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, .8 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 7.4 nm
4. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 8.4 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