The Ocean Race: Holcim-PRB reaches Rio
Published on April 29th, 2023
(April 29, 2023; Day 7) – The Ocean Race team Holcim-PRB arrived this evening at 7:17pm UT in Rio. Kevin Escoffier, Benjamin Schwartz, Annemieke Bes and Fabien Delahaye were welcomed by part of their team on land.
Since the dismasting of the IMOCA boat on April 27, while leading the leg to Newport, the sailors and the whole team have been considering all possible solutions so that a mast can be brought in as soon as possible in the hope of being able to finish this fourth leg.
But finally, Kevin Escoffier announced on his arrival in Rio that he had to abandon the leg in order to give himself a maximum chance of being at the start of the transatlantic race between Newport and Aarhus on May 21. The current leaders in the general ranking cannot miss this event with a double coefficient.
“It’s a very difficult decision to make, but common sense prevails. Since our dismasting, the whole team has been totally focused on finding the best solutions so that we can get back into the competition in a solid way. Starting again on this fourth leg would allow us to take a point, but not to arrive in time to line up at the start of the next leg in Newport.
“But the sporting stakes of the fifth leg are very high and we want to be able to present ourselves at our best level for this leg which will count double. We are definitely still aiming for victory on this round the world race and in this perspective, this is the best decision we can make”, comments the skipper of Holcim-PRB.
If the objective is now clear, the countdown continues to run. The Holcim-PRB team led by team manager Marine Derrien has a lot of experience in logistics and this will be key in the coming days. The operations are going to be carried out in a very methodical way. In Rio, the shore team members, with the help of the sailors, will prepare the IMOCA boat to be loaded onto a cargo ship.
The latter could set sail tomorrow to head for Newport. It will take about 16 days at sea to reach the American port. At the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic, the mast will be loaded onto another cargo ship. The crossing will last 7 days and the mast could be unloaded between May 9 and 10 in Newport.
The whole team is about to set a breathtaking pace for the next three weeks. The slightest grain of sand can disrupt the whole system and each stage must be perfectly anticipated and mastered so that Holcim-PRB can line up on May 21 alongside the four other IMOCA boats in The Ocean Race.
For Kevin Escoffier, there is no doubt that his team will meet this challenge. “I know that everyone is very mobilized and united so that we can be in Newport on time. I have complete confidence in my team to meet this collective challenge. We are receiving a lot of messages of support and this is a great boost. Our partners are also fully behind us and, like us, are showing incredible determination.
“I only have one desire, to continue this magical race. In Newport, at the start of the fifth leg, it is possible that we will still be in the lead of the general classification. Mechanical breakdown is part of our sport, we accept it. The next leg will be decisive for the rest of the race and we are looking forward to giving our best as we have done so far,” concludes Kevin Escoffier.
In the best-case scenario, Holcim-PRB will be in Newport on May 18. The team will then have just over 48 hours to rig the boat and finish preparing it for the return trip to Europe. Once the challenge is over, the sailors will have only one wish: to share the best place at the finish in Aarhus with all the people who have worked so hard to make this leg possible.
Leg Four Rankings at 14:00 UTC*
1. Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 4593.9 nm
2. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 0.4 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 9.9 nm
4. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 10.5 nm
5. GUYOT environnement, distance to lead, 24.1 nm
* Until the fleet uniformly aims along the course route, the ranking may be misleading.
Race details – Route – Tracker – Teams – Content from the boats – YouTube
Overall Leaderboard (after 3 of 7 legs)
1. Team Holcim-PRB — 19 points
2. Team Malizia — 14 points
3. 11th Hour Racing Team — 13 points
4. Biotherm — 10 points
5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe — 2 points
IMOCA: Name, 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.