The Ocean Race returns to the north
Published on May 2nd, 2023
(May 2, 2023; Day 10) – Last night (UTC), Team Malizia led 11th Hour Racing Team across the equator, as The Ocean Race returned to the northern hemisphere.
But the margin was slim – just over two minutes separated the leading pair.
“Hopefully we’re going to cross in first… by about 200 metres I would say,” said Will Harris from on board Malizia. “It’s going to be a dogfight the whole way up (to Newport) I think.
“We’ve sailed down the Atlantic, all the way around and back up. That’s a big part of ‘around the world’ done now.”
For video, see 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia.
“We’re back in the game with the Malizians…again,” said Charlie Enright, on board 11th Hour Racing Team, as his team crossed back to the north, and regained the lead shortly thereafter.
Both boats were moving well as they made the transition, and the impact of a very weak doldrums pattern hasn’t been too obstructive to progress towards the finish in Newport, Rhode Island.
By this morning, Paul Meilhat’s third-placed Biotherm had closed within eight miles of the leaders, but a slower stretch this afternoon has seen the team fall back again, some 30 miles behind.
GUYOT environnement – Team Europe should cross the equator before 1800 UTC. Unfortunately for Ben Dutreux’s team, it looks like the doldrums will impact them more than the leading boats and they are likely to fall further behind.
The next two to three days should see the leading teams heading nearly directly north in the easterly tradewinds. By then, the wind will shift to the west and there will be another transition to navigate as they gybe with the front. The ETA in Newport remains May 10.
Leg Four Rankings at 18:26 UTC*
1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 2861.4 nm
2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 10.2 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 41.9 nm
4. GUYOT environnement, distance to lead, 229.4 nm
* Holcim-PRB, retired (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.