Disaster for start of The Ocean Race leg
Published on June 15th, 2023
The Hague, Netherlands (June 15, 2023) The final leg of The Ocean Race got underway with a disastrous collision that involved overall leader 11th Hour Ocean Race Team.
As the five IMOCA crew were completing the inshore section of the 2200 nm Leg 7 to Genova, Italy, 11th Hour was on a starboard tack upwind angle when they were t-boned by the port tack GUYOT environnement – Team Europe.
The collision damaged both boats, which have returned to port in The Hague. No injuries were reported.
“Their boat appeared in front of me and it was too late,” explained GUYOT skipper Benjamin Dutreux. “It was impossible then to avoid contact (after I saw them). I take all responsibility. It’s our fault for sure.”
The collision broke off GUYOT’S sprit which had penetrated 11th Hour’s hull.
For his part, 11th Hour Racing Team skipper Charlie Enright said he tried to avert a crash, but once he realized the give-way GUYOT boat wasn’t changing course, it was too late.
“Obviously this is an extremely unfortunate situation,” he said after returning to the dock. “We tacked on the layline to mark 4, clean and clear; I don’t want to speculate but it seems that the other boat didn’t see us. We were the right of way boat. The impact was forceful – we are very lucky that everybody is okay…
“Accidents happen and I know it’s clear they wouldn’t want to end our race, just as we wouldn’t want to end their race. We’ll just have to see what happens next. It’s definitely not over until it’s over – this is not going to be the reason that we don’t finish the job. Whatever it takes – we will figure it out.”
Shortly after 20:30 local time in The Hague, GUYOT environnement – Team Europe announced they would retire from the leg, and have offered any and all assistance to 11th Hour Racing Team.
“I’m very sorry about this,” Dutreux said. “I really hope they will get back and win this race… We will try to help them all we can.”
It is not yet clear what options exist for 11th Hour, as if they are required to repair their boat and continue racing, a significant time allowance would be needed as the team cannot afford to finish fourth if Team Holcim-PRB wins Leg 7.
By not continuing on Leg 7, a request for redress could give 11th Hour average points for the six legs completed which would secure their overall victory.
IMOCA – Leg 7 Rankings at 20:25 UTC
1. Team Malizia, distance to finish, 2127.1 nm
2. Biotherm, distance to lead, 1.2 nm
3. Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 2.5 nm
Suspended racing – 11th Hour Racing Team
Retired – GUYOT environnement
IMOCA Overall Leaderboard (after 6 of 7 legs)
1. 11th Hour Racing Team — 33 points
2. Team Holcim-PRB — 31 points
3. Team Malizia — 27 points
4. Biotherm — 19 points
5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe — 2 points
VO65 Overall Leaderboard (after 2 of 3 legs):
1. WindWhisper Racing Team — 12 points
2. Team JAJO — 9 points
3. Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova — 7 points
4. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team — 5 points
5. Viva México — 4 points
6. Ambersail 2 — 3 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.
Source: TOR, Scuttlebutt