11th Hour wins The Ocean Race Leg 5
Published on May 29th, 2023
Aarhus, Denmark (May 29, 2023) – Skipper Charlie Enrigh led his 11th Hour Racing Team to a first place finish early this morning in leg 5 of The Ocean Race. As the transatlantic leg is a double-points scoring leg and with the win, the US-flagged team has climbed to the top of the overall leaderboard for the first time.
“It’s a good feeling to be at the top of the table,” admitted Enright. “It’s more important to be on top in July than it is now, but this is a step in the right direction.
“We’ve been trying to make incremental improvements in every area of the campaign. We’ve done that on board the boat, we’ve done that on the technical side, and the logistics side as well as we set ourselves up for success everywhere in the team.”
Navigator Simon ‘SiFi’ Fisher added, “We went into this leg knowing that we needed to be aggressive and we needed to have a good result in this leg to stand a chance in the race. So we tried to sail aggressively and we sailed our own race. I am very happy to say it worked out nicely – everybody did a tremendous job.”
Nearly 4 hours after 11th Hour Racing Team won the leg, Team Holcim-PRB took a hard-earned second place finish, holding off Team Malizia who finished just five minutes behind.
“I think we’ve been sailing fast and as well as the others,” Escoffier said. “We had a few issues – at the beginning we had to earn some trust in our (new) mast and then we broke the 24-hour record, but it wasn’t quite enough.
With little time to test their mast before the start, the team had to sail almost the entire transatlantic without any wind information following the fall of the two wind sensors 48 hours after the start.
“We had no wind information on the boat,” explained Escoffier. “In other words, we didn’t know the angle of the wind in relation to the boat, nor the strength of the wind. So when we’re going pretty much straight ahead and everything’s going well, it’s fine. On the other hand, when the wind is variable, and you have to make gybes or sail choices, it’s difficult.
“This has an impact on both performance and strategy. You can’t tell exactly where the wind is coming from, and it’s very complicated to know only by feel. So we steer with information on speed and angle of heel, and learn to use different sensations and sensors other than those of the wind. Of course, we also have routing information to help us set our route, but it’s not always accurate.”
Regarding the high speeds posted during Leg 5, Escoffier noted how sleep was in short supply and bodies were put to the test. “The new IMOCAs are quite extreme – fast but not very comfortable. I can tell you that doing 640 miles in 24-hours is definitely not comfortable! But by finishing in second place, we still have it in our hands to win The Ocean Race.”
For Team Malizia, the third place finish drops them further behind than they would like on the overall leaderboard, but co-skipper Will Harris was defiant and confident when asked if they could still win the race.
“Of course we can. For sure, definitely. Anything can happen in this race. You have to keep believeing all the way to the finish… there is plenty to fight for still,” he said.
“We came so close to catching up to Holcim-PRB at the end there. Unfortunately we didn’t quite get the result that we wanted. We really wanted to get a few more points than that.”
Biotherm remains on the race course, nearing the top of Scotland. The team is sailing slowly, protecting the mast, and won’t be in Aarhus until the end of the week.
The start for Leg 6 to The Hague, The Netherlands is Wednesday, June 8, 2023.
Leg Five Rankings at 13:00 UTC
1. 11th Hour Racing Team, finished at 02:56:49 UTC (7d 08h 41min 49s)
2. Holcim-PRB, finished at 07:22:03 UTC (7d 13h 07min 03s)
3. Team Malizia, finished at 07:27:50 UTC (7d 13h 12min 50s)
4. Biotherm, distance to finish, 738.9 nm
Did not start – GUYOT environnement
For the crew lists, click here.
Overall Leaderboard (after 5 of 7 legs)
1. 11th Hour Racing Team — 28 points
2. Team Holcim-PRB — 27 points
3. Team Malizia — 24 points
4. Biotherm — 17 points*
5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe — 2 points
* Points added for Leg 5 in anticipation of their fourth place finish.
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.