Record conditions for The Ocean Race
Published on May 25th, 2023
(May 25, 2023; Day 5) – It’s going to be an interesting 24-hours in The Ocean Race as the leading trio find themselves in record-setting conditions with strong downwind reaching angles and ‘relatively’ flat water.
11th Hour Racing Team, at the head of the fleet, is already posting a run of over 550 miles for the past 24 hours, a number that is currently going up with each hourly position report.
It was on Leg 3 when 11th Hour Racing Team posted a 544.63 nautical mile run over the 24 hours, which improved on the distance for a monohull up to 60-feet over the record set in 2017 of 536.81 nm.
“We’ve got plenty of wind, there’s a bit more pressure than forecast, and it’s still a little bumpy, but we got out across the front earlier than the other guys which seems to be a gain for now,” said 11th Hour Racing Team’s skipper Charlie Enright. “And we just had 31 knots as a 10 minute average, which isn’t nothing!”
Team Holcim-PRB and Team Malizia, in second and third place respectively, are striving to match that pace. This is a flat out drag race, with limited tactical opportunities.
“It’s a speed course, not a strategic course, at the moment,” said Yann Eliès on Team Malizia. “When we get close to Aarhus it becomes more of a coastal race with some more strategic options.”
“The three first boats are sailing around the high pressure weather system in strong southerly winds, while Biotherm couldn’t cross the front and is in upwind conditions,” explained race meteorologist Christian Dumard. “For the leaders, the wind could still be quite strong through tomorrow, before the it shifts to the northwest.”
He adds that the current forecast is for light winds near the finish, which could provide wholesale changes for the leaders. “Anything could happen,” Dumard says.
“It’s been tough for us, we got caught behind the fleet in the light winds leaving Newport and we’ve since had some technical issues on board – the autopilot and our electronics,” explained Alan Roberts on Biotherm. “We also had a sail lock break and we needed to recover the J3 headsail out of the water – we’ve lost a few hours dealing with these problems.”
Those lost hours and miles are now compounding as Biotherm is on the unfavorable side of the front and still pushing more upwind. “The sea state has been pretty messy so we’ve had to back off in the nasty conditions… It is what it is. All we can do is to keep going as fast as possible in the weather conditions we have.”
The ETA in Aarhus is tentatively on May 30.
Leg Five Rankings at 18:00 UTC
1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 1630.2 nm
2. Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 19.8 nm
3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 83.1 nm
4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 274.7 nm
Did not start – GUYOT environnement
For the crew lists, click here.
Race details – Route – Tracker – Scoreboard – Content from the boats – YouTube
Overall Leaderboard (after 4 of 7 legs)
1. Team Holcim-PRB — 19 points
2. 11th Hour Racing Team — 18 points
3. Team Malizia — 18 points
4. Biotherm — 13 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.
Held every three or four years since 1973, 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.