Getting dicey for The Ocean Race

Published on June 22nd, 2023

(June 22, 2023; Day 8) – It’s been a profitable 24 hours for Poland’s WindWhisper Racing Team who have escaped from the rest of the boats racing towards the Grand Finale in Genova and stretched out to a lead in the Mediterranean of over 130 nautical miles over their nearest pursuers in the VO65 fleet.

In the short term, however, the forecast isn’t in their favor. The wind is expected to ease dramatically in the western Mediterranean over the course of today before shifting from the westerly that has pushed them into the Med, to an east-northeasterly that they’ll need to fight to make progress toward Genova.

The calm patch will apply to the chasing boats as well, who may need to battle this transition along with unfavorable tidal current in the Strait of Gibraltar depending on when they arrive to the Strait. And a later arrival could mean tacking into a building headwind.

On the approach to Gibraltar, Team Holcim-PRB was leading the IMOCAs, but Biotherm has since past them with Team Malizia also closing in.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to catch up to the others,” said Malizia’s Will Harris, looking ahead at the transition. “There will be a light wind area and maybe a chance for us to play a card and gain some miles if we find better wind. We’ll see what we find.”

IMOCA – Leg 7 Rankings at 21:00 UTC
1. Biotherm, distance to finish, 838.5 nm
2. Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 1.1 nm
3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 6.1 nm
Retired – 11th Hour Racing Team
Retired – GUYOT environnement

VO65 – Leg 7 Rankings at 21:00 UTC
1. WindWhisper Racing Team, distance to finish, 692.8 nm
2. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, distance to lead, 136.6 nm
3. Team JAJO, distance to lead, 137.1 nm
4. Viva México, distance to lead, 137.2m
5. Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova, distance to lead, 147.7 nm
Retired – Ambersail 2

Race detailsRouteTrackerScoreboardContent from the boatsYouTube

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

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