The Ocean Race: Crossing the equator
Published on May 1st, 2023
(May 1, 2023; Day 9) – The USA lies to the north and Brazil is now in the wake of the four teams racing towards Newport, Rhode Island as The Ocean Race fleet has rounded the northeastern corner of Brazil.
The next transition will be to cross what appears on the forecast to be a fairly benighn doldrums – the teams are far enough to the west that the impact shouldn’t be too strong or long lasting.
As of 1300 UTC today, the leading teams are starting to approach the unsettled weather that is characteristic of the doldrums. The sailors can expect rain squalls, high temperatures, and humidity and thunderstorms. This should last for about 36 hours, before the teams break through and into the north Atlantic trade winds.
Team Malizia and 11th Hour Racing Team have been swapping the lead back and forth on the tracker for the past 24 hours, with the German team slightly further north, and the Americans just to the west. In reality, there is little to choose between the two positions. The pair will cross the equator later this evening UTC and the effects of the doldrums will then become more pronounced.
To watch drone footage of 11th Hour Racing Team enjoying the fast run north, click here.
It’s been a fast day for the fleet, with 24 hour runs approaching the 500 nautical mile barrier.
“We have flat water, we’re reaching at about 110 degrees to the wind, in about 20-23 knots of windspeed and averaging about 23 to 25 knots of boatspeed. It’s fun,” said Alan Roberts on third-placed Biotherm.
That will change tonight (UTC), but when the fleet emerges into the north Atlantic trades, the high speed reaching will resume.
GUYOT envrionnement – Team Europe will be hoping for more unsettled conditions ahead as they look to make up lost miles after they needed to slow to make repairs to a foil control line yesterday. The procedure saw the team slide from second place, and challenging for the lead, to where they sit today – nearly 200 miles back.
The ETA for the finish of leg 4 in Newport remains May 10 and should firm up later this week with the fleet in more stable conditions.
Leg Four Rankings at 18:00 UTC*
1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 3149.7 nm
2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 2.8 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 32.6 nm
4. GUYOT environnement, distance to lead, 212.9 nm
* Holcim-PRB, suspended racing (dismasted)
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.