The Ocean Race: Final night for Leg 4

Published on May 9th, 2023

(May 9, 2023; Day 17) – The morning began with the news that GUYOT environnement – Team Europe lost their rig at 0243 UTC when in gale force winds and big waves, the boat slammed off a wave and the mast crashed down. It is the second dismasting after overall leader Holcim-PRB lost their mast on the fifth day of the leg.

Meanwhile, at the front of the fleet, 11th Hour Racing Team (USA) and Team Malizia (GER) were the first to emerge from what Amory Ross, the veteran onboard reporter on 11th Hour Racing Team called ‘terrifying’ conditions.

While the leading pair remain close, skipper Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team may benefit from some local knowledge on the approach to the crew’s home port.

“We are doing everything we can to try not to break anything,” Enright reported from the boat. “The difference in the leg can be made here by not making any mistakes, keeping high [speed] averages, and keeping the boat moving towards the mark. No bear aways, no breakages and none of that stuff.”

Team Malizia skipper Will Harris said the crew of the German entry had also been focused on avoiding serious damage in the boat breaking conditions overnight but were gunning to chase down their American rival before the finish.

“It got pretty bouncy but we have been anticipating this for the last 4-5 days so we knew it was coming. We are pretty experienced now after Leg 3. We got through it, keeping the boat in one piece.

“We lost a few more miles to 11th Hour Racing Team which is really what we didn’t want, because it just makes it harder to come back to them. We are staying positive and we think there is a chance up ahead. You know it’s not over until we or they cross the line and anything could still happen.”

Current ETA for 11th Hour Racing Team in Newport is on May 10th between 1800 and 2200 UTC (1400 and 1800 local time) followed by Team Malizia two hours later, with Paul Meilhat’s third placed Biotherm (FRA) expected to arrive around five hours afterwards.

The GUYOT environnement – Team Europe crew remain safe and have not requested outside assistance and are currently evaluating the next steps along with their shore crew and that could include going to Halifax, Canada or to be towed with a ship or a fishing boat to the USA.

The conditions remain too extreme to fabricate a jury rig to aid their progress toward land, with team skipper Benjamin Dutreux noting their immediate focus was on getting the boat to shore to properly assess the extent of the damage caused in the incident.

“We need to work on a plan of how to get back in the race, but the first step is to get the boat to a harbor and to carry out an inventory of the damage. We will do our best to rejoin the fleet again but it is hard to say what percentage of a chance we have.”

As for Kevin Escoffier’s Swiss entry Team Holcim – PRB, the IMOCA is on board a cargo ship en route to Newport where the crew plan to step a new mast in time for the start of Leg 5 to Aarhus, Denmark on May 21, which counts for double points.

Leg Four Rankings at 20:00 UTC
1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 265.1 nm
2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 23.7 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 179.4 nm
Retired – GUYOT environnement, (dismasted May 9)
Retired – Holcim-PRB, retired (dismasted April 27)

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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