The Ocean Race closes in on Newport

Published on May 7th, 2023

(May 7, 2023; Day 15) – The Ocean Race competition level is high as 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia duel towards the finish.

“11th Hour Racing Team is just a few miles away and we’re doing everything we can to get ahead of them,” said Malizia skipper Will Harris. “The fight is still on. It’s been an intense fight for the last six days or so – really intense racing…

“We’re very motivated to keep pushing to the end and that’s what this race is about sometimes, just pushing a bit more. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got to beat them to Newport.”

His counterpart on 11th Hour Racing Team, Charlie Enright, is up for the challenge.

“As we’ve seen in the last couple of days, the advantage goes back and forth very quickly,” he said. “It looks very complicated (the approach to Newport). We go upwind, there’s a lot of pressure, some circulation in the Gulf Stream. After that it’s a real dog’s breakfast with a bunch of stuff we’ll have to deal with, but we’ll deal with it and figure it out.

“It’s hard to believe that with less than a thousand miles to go we still have about three days of racing, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

The ETA for the leading pair is trending towards 0400 local time on May 10 in Newport. But as Charlie indicated, there is still some uncertainty in the models and complications in the choices available to Malizia and 11th Hour Racing Team which could push this slightly in either direction.

Early this afternoon, 11th Hour Racing Team made a tack to the west that can only be considered a tactical option to positing the boat better for the weather to come, as it meant sailing slightly south of west, costing miles towards Newport.

As the American boat crossed just one mile ahead of Team Malizia, Harris elected to follow on the same line. The race for the lead couldn’t be closer. The pressure on these crews to sail at maximum potential isn’t going to ease.

Some eight hours behind the leading pair, Biotherm continues to fight through some light weather.

“We just haven’t got much wind,” said Alan Roberts. “We just passed a little front and now we have quite light winds. We need to get into the northwesterly breeze to keep moving, but it’s quite tricky.”

Meanwhile, on GUYOT envrionnement – Team Europe, Seb Simon celebrated his birthday, complete with candle and cake and calls home.

“It’s a real pleasure to have everyone think about me… all the little things people have done for me today, I’m very happy, thank you,” he said.

What will make him happiest of all is gaining over 50 miles on Biotherm in the past 24 hours. On the 1400 UTC update, the GUYOT team was less than 100 miles behind.

Leg Four Rankings at 19:36 UTC*
1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 825.1 nm
2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 5.7 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 153.2 nm
4. GUYOT environnement, distance to lead, 240.2 nm
* Holcim-PRB, retired (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

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