(February 4, 2023; Day 11) – “Around the outside” is a trope that gets pulled out at one point or another on every edition of The Ocean Race. It refers to a tactical option on the race course where a boat, or boats, sail a longer route in more favorable conditions to make a pass on the leaderboard.
Today it’s appropriate as Team Holcim-PRB, 11th Hour Racing Team, Biotherm, and even Team Malizia have used the longer, westerly option to slide south of GUYOT environnement – Team Europe who has been leading for much of leg 2.
Up until now, what would traditionally be considered a risky easterly option had paid off for Robert Stanjek and his team on GUYOT environnement.
But between 2100 UTC last night and 0900 UTC this morning, their luck appears to have run out and the tactical scenario has turned on its head.
While all boats in the fleet slowed and suffered some tricky shifts to navigate, it was much worse for the European flagged team, who are no longer the most southerly boat and look to be in a very vulnerable position.
The tracker still shows GUYOT environnement – Team Europe with a nominal lead, but this is based solely on the math of being to the east and therefore the closest boat to Cape Town. The tactical reality is very different.
11th Hour Racing Team strategist and veteran navigator on The Ocean Race, Marcel van Triest, explains how to interpret the tracker: click here
The tracker also shows compression in the entire fleet with the most westerly boat, Team Malizia, making strong gains behind the tight trio of Holcim-PRB, 11th Hour Racing Team, and Biotherm who are within sight of each other – the spread being down to about 10 miles on the water and closing.
“The wind is a bit shifty with some squalls to play with. Lots of wind variations so we need to change sails, adjust trimming, gybe, etc,” said Nico Lunven on Team Malizia.
“We are quite happy as we have been able to catch up a bit our competitors. Now we are only 30-40 nautical miles behind Holcim – Biotherm – 11th Hour. And GUYOT is in a different option, much closer to the rhumb line (direct route to Cape Town) but in light wind for now.
“Ahead of us, there is still a lot to play for. The next goal is to catch some strong NW wind in order to be able to gain to the East, towards Cape Town.
“Life is good on board. We had some showers under the rain squalls yesterday. We will need to monitor our remaining food as the leg is longer than expected…”
Leg Two Rankings at 1200 UTC
1. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, distance to finish, 2595.0 miles
2. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 47.3 miles
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 50.8 miles
4. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 60.1 miles
5. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 82.0 miles
Initially, race management predicted a 14-15-day passage time for Leg 2, with the leading boats expected to arrive in Cape Town on or around February 8 or 9. Now the ETA is February 11-12.
IMOCA LEG 2 CREW LIST
11TH HOUR RACING TEAM (USA)
Charlie ENRIGHT (USA) Skipper
Simon FISHER (GBR)
Jack BOUTTELL (AUS/ GBR)
Justine METTRAUX (SUI)
Amory ROSS (USA) – OBR
Paul MEILHAT (FRA) – Skipper
Anthony MARCHAND (FRA)
Amélie GRASSI (FRA)
Damien SEGUIN (FRA)
Annne BEUGÉ (FRA)
TEAM HOLCIM-PRB (SUI)
Kevin ESCOFFIER (FRA) – Skipper
Sam GOODCHILD (GBR)
Tom LAPERCHE (FRA)
Susann BEUCKE (GER)
Georgia SCHOFIELD (NZL) – OBR
GUYOT ENVIRONNEMENT-TEAM EUROPE (FRA/ GER)
Robert STANJEK (GER) – skipper
Sébastien SIMON (FRA)
Anne-Claire LE BERRE (FRA)
Phillip KASÜSKE (GER)
Charles DRAPEAU (FRA) – OBR
TEAM MALIZIA (GER)
Will HARRIS (GBR) – skipper
Yann ELIES (FRA)
Rosalin KUIPER (NED)
Nicolas LUNVEN (FRA)
Antoine AURIOL (FRA) – OBR
Leg One Results
1. Team Holcim-PRB, winner leg one, finished – 5d 11h 01m 59s
2. 11th Hour Racing Team, finished – 5d 13h 50m 45s
3. Team Malizia, finished – 5d 16h 35m 21s
4. Biotherm, finished – 6d 8h 47m
5. GUYOT environnement-Team Europe, finished – 6d 12h 20m 37s
1. WindWhisper Racing, finished – 5d 16h 35m 21s
2. Team JAJO, finished – 6d 4h 52m 52s
3. Austrian Ocean Racing-Team Genova, finished – 6d 19h 13m 54s
4. Ambersail 2, finished – 6d 21h 49m 04s
5. Viva Mexico, finished – 8d 13h 50m 25s
6. Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team – Retired from leg
IMOCA: Boat, 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 start: January 15, 2023
Cabo Verde – ETA: January 22; Leg 2 start: January 25
Cape Town, South Africa – ETA: February 9; Leg 3 start: February 26 or 27 (TBC)
Itajaí, Brazil – ETA: April 1; Leg 4 start: April 23
Newport, RI, USA – ETA: May 10; Leg 5 start: May 21
Aarhus, Denmark – ETA: May 30; Leg 6 start: June 8
Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) – June 9
The Hague, The Netherlands – ETA: June 11; Leg 7 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.
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: The Ocean Race