Twilight zone onboard 11th Hour Racing

Published on June 26th, 2023

(June 25, 2023) – While its Day 12 for the IMOCAs and VO65s that are racing in the final leg of The Ocean Race 2023, overall leader 11th Hour Racing Team is on their ninth day delivering their boat from The Netherlands to Genova, Italy. A collision 17 minutes into Leg 7 required their retirement and a return for repairs, but they now seek to finish what they started. Here’s an onboard update:

Happy to report we are comfortably inside the Mediterranean Sea, just over six months since we left. A lot has transpired since then, obviously, with a circumnavigation already complete; Aarhus is both north and east of Alicante.

To say this has been a strange passage is a bit of an understatement. It feels a little like the twilight zone onboard, where we are caught between universes!

In one, we are racing hard. The goal is to get there as fast as possible for a multitude of reasons. That provides more time to celebrate the end of the race with the rest of the race. More time to prepare for the In Port Race. More time to be together as a team before going our separate ways on July 2nd.

In the other universe, it’s not the worst of ways to spend our last offshore miles together as a group onboard, the same group that started this race in Alicante this January. We have nobody to race against so there is a lack of pressure. The mood is light, casual. Plenty of time to enjoy each others company and have some laughs.

There’s also the weight of the redress hearing on June 29 that more or less decides the fate of the campaign, but we are trying not to think too much about that. To a certain degree it is out of our atmosphere. We are out here to get the boat to Italy and participate in the last In Port Race and represent the race and 11th Hour Racing at the Grand Finale. What happens happens and we are trying not to lose sleep over what we can’t control!

Speaking of sleep, it was good to catch up on some last night. We sailed west through Gibraltar during Leg 1, upwind in 30-40kts (but saw 55 just prior) – storm jib in the air. And we just sailed east through Gibraltar in our unofficial Leg 7, upwind in 35-45kts – storm jib in the air. It was full circle, as they say!

In total darkness, save only for the bright lights ashore, and a nasty, short sea state, we executed 13 tacks along the African coast before finally settling in to a long port fetch at sunrise, surrounded by freighters, flat water, and an enthusiastic pod of juvenile dolphin.

It felt like the summit of this journey. From there, theoretically, it should be downhill all the way to the dock in Genoa.

With just four or five days and 700 miles left onboard, a lot of which will probably be spent upwind and in light air, conditions will be tame… Tame isn’t fast, but it is pleasant. As the arrival looms near, our focus will inevitably shift to a place of reflection, appreciation, and anticipation.

Until then though, we’re doing everything we can to go fast and get there as soon as possible. But we’re also doing it comfortably, and with nothing but smiles on our faces, we’re lucky to be here and we all know it.

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

comment banner

Tags: , ,

Back to Top ↑

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your download by email.

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’ll keep your information safe.