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The Ocean Race: Limping to Itajaí

Published on April 4th, 2023

Itajaí, Brazil (April 4, 2023; Day 38) – The podium battle promises to push the two teams still racing up the coast to the very end with Biotherm and 11th Hour Racing Team racing within 18 nm of each other on the leaderboard.

11th Hour Racing Team currently holds the advantage, positioned between Biotherm and the finish, but also as their opponent continues to race from a compromised position.

In addition to damage to their foil, Biotherm is still leaking – taking on water slowly – and now the team reports the hydraulic system that moves the keel isn’t working, so that becomes a manual procedure. In addition the team has been without wind instruments for over a week.

It’s been a long list of challenges to overcome and a remarkable display of fighting spirit to remain in the hunt for the podium, something the Biotherm skipper was quick to acknowledge.

“The wind is quite unstable,” Paul Meilhat reports. “(Yesterday) we weren’t on the damaged foil so that was good. But we have been sailing for the last 10 days without the wind sensor and it’s been really hard, trying to steer the boat during the night when you can’t see the sails.

“But we’ve been going fast compared to the forecast and we’ve come back on 11th Hour Racing Team so that’s good news. Maybe we can fight for third place. We have hope and hope is an engine for the crew!”

Meilhat adds, “The water continues to come in to the boat. But not a lot – it’s something like 50-100 litres per hour, so it’s ok. Yesterday we had an opportunity to try and fix it a bit more so we are confident.”

Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team continues the push north to Itajaí with one eye on Biotherm and another on the work list that needs to be completed upon arrival.

“I’m just doing a bit of a check around the boat. As we sail on the leg we make repairs on board to keep the boat performing well but we also have a jobs list for when the boat gets on land…” said Jack Bouttell from on board 11th Hour Racing Team.

“This was meant to be the longest stopover period for work but we’re still at sea so there are a few days less than originally planned, so we’re just trying to get a jump on what needs doing…”

“We have a 35 day jobs list that’s accumulated over the course of this leg and we have to be prepared when we hit the dock to let the tech team know what they have in store,” said Enright.

GUYOT environnement completed their delivery while 11th Hour Racing Team and Biotherm are expected to arrive by April 5.

Leg Three Rankings at 23:00 UTC
1. Team Malizia, finished April 2 at 05:20:28 UTC (34 days, 17 hours, 10 mins, 28 seconds)
2. Holcim-PRB, finished April 2 at 10:56:20 UTC (34 days, 22 hours, 46 mins, 20 seconds)
3. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 94.8 nm
4. Biotherm, distance to finish, 112.8 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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