The Ocean Race into the North Atlantic
Published on June 18th, 2023
(June 18, 2023; Day 4) – Both the IMOCA and VO65 fleets in The Ocean Race are finally free of the English Channel and into the more open waters of the Bay of Biscay / Celtic Sea / North Atlantic.
The mission now is to leave the Bay of Biscay to port and run down the west coasts of Spain and Portugal before turning into the Mediterranean for the finish in Genoa, Italy.
After a couple of days of very light winds, this morning brought a light to moderate breeze, but it’s a south-southwesterly, which is generally the direction of travel, meaning choices will need to be made. Further west there is likely to be more wind, but it comes at a cost of extra miles. This tactical choice over the next 24-48 hours will be one to watch.
“We lost a bit on Biotherm overnight, but still have a good lead at the moment… so far, so good,” said Benjamin Schwartz on IMOCA fleet leader, Team Holcim-PRB. His team dropped just over 10 miles in the early hours of Sunday, but have managed to stabilise now and are set up directly west of Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm team, and nearly 50 miles ahead of Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia.
To see what ‘no wind’ looks like on this boat feed from Biotherm, click here.
The VO65 fleet has pushed further west than the IMOCAs, especially the leader, WindWhisper Racing Team who are over 70 miles west of second-placed Mirpuri-Trifork and Team JAJO in third.
The challenge for WindWhisper skipper Daryl Wislang is to determine when there is enough west in the wind direction for them to tack and start making miles south – at the moment (0800 UTC) his team is pushing nearly directly west, and not making miles towards their goal.
For a summary of life on board WindWhisper, click here.
“It’s definitely been a tricky time with very, very light winds,” confirmed Viva Mexico skipper Erik Brockmann, where his team is in a pack of four VO65s chasing the leader.
“The last days have seemed more like the doldrums with a little bit of everything mixed in. Now we finally have some breeze and have sailed all night and I think we are finally getting into the southerlies we have been expecting. Only WindWhisper has been able to get into the wind first (and get away), but we can see the others, so it should be a fun day today.”
After the dramatic collision that marred the start of Leg 7 for the IMOCA fleet, GUYOT environnement – Team Europe has retired from further competition while 11th Hour Racing Team will deliver their boat to Genoa with the intent on competing in the final In Port Race.
The schedule for 11th Hour Racing Team’s Request for Redress with the World Sailing International Jury has not yet been disclosed.
IMOCA – Leg 7 Rankings at 16:00 UTC
1. Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 1686.4 nm
2. Biotherm, distance to lead, 20.0 nm
3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 41.8 nm
Retired – 11th Hour Racing Team
Retired – GUYOT environnement
VO65 – Leg 7 Rankings at 16:00 UTC
1. WindWhisper Racing Team, distance to finish, 1618.8 nm
2. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, distance to lead, 47.2 nm
3. Team JAJO, distance to lead, 57.0 nm
4. Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova, distance to lead, 67.6 nm
5. Viva México, distance to lead, 68.8 nm
Retired – Ambersail 2
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.