Northbound in The Ocean Race

Published on April 30th, 2023

(April 30, 2023; Day 8) – Moderate easterly tradewinds have provided a speedy 24 hours of racing for the four IMOCAs charging north towards the doldrums in The Ocean Race.

The 24 hour distance runs have nearly doubled (although are still far off a record-setting pace) as the wind has settled in around 12-14 knots.

The result is a drag race directly north, where the teams will leave the northeastern corner of Brazil to port – their current headings have them closing within about 30 miles of Recife, which is still about 120 miles to the north.

“We’re just cruising north, up the Brazilian coast in moderate conditions” said Charlie Enright from the leading boat, 11th Hour Racing Team. “It doesn’t look too windy until quite a bit later. Yesterday was a bit sketchy with almost doldrums like conditions. But we got out of it ok… all is well on board for now.”

Some bad luck for GUYOT environnement – Team Europe who had been doing a remarkable job of keeping pace with its rivals over the past day or so. At one point this morning, the team was showing in second place, just 4 miles back.

But shortly afterwards, skipper Ben Dutreux’s boat steered towards the coast and slowed. The team reported a small technical issue – later confirming a broken ‘foil down’ line – that would cost them nearly 50 miles before they were back on track at pace.

“There is a little bit more wind now. We’re flying again,” said Dutreux from on board, before the incident. “And we’re heading straight to the north of Brazil, quite fast. It’s nice. It’s also quite close with the other boats, anything can happen.”

But now the team will need to fight hard to regain the lost miles. Perhaps the doldrums, looming a day or so ahead, could offer an opportunity.

“We have come out of the high pressure ridge and we are getting more of the easterly wind,” said Team Malizia’s Nico Lunven. “The next challenge is to round the northeast corner of Brazil. It’s a bit difficult as we don’t want to be too close to the shore, there is bad wind, thunderstorms at night, etc. But to go to Newport, the shortest way is to stick to the coast. We have to find the right balance.

“Then we have the doldurms before the get the north Atlantic trade winds. After that it will be faster.”

But those north Atlantic trades are still at least a couple of days away, with plenty of tricky transitions to manage before then.

Meanwhile, Team Holcim-PRB has confirmed they have a plan to rejoin the race in Newport ahead of leg 5, but this means retiring from leg 4 (see details).

Shortly after arriving in Rio last night, skipper Kevin Escoffier said his team would put all of its efforts into being ready to race the transatlantic leg, with its double point scoring coefficient.

The current leg of The Ocean Race is expected to take up to 17 days, with an ETA around May 9th or 10th.

Leg Four Rankings at 21:10 UTC*
1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 3525.2 nm
2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 2.8 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 26.7 nm
4. GUYOT environnement, distance to lead, 110.6 nm
* Holcim-PRB, suspended racing (dismasted)

Race detailsRouteTrackerTeamsContent from the boatsYouTube

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.

Source: TOR

comment banner

Tags: ,

Back to Top ↑

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your download by email.

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’ll keep your information safe.