(January 31, 2023; Day 7) – As January comes to a close, so does one chapter of leg 2 of The Ocean Race. The fleet has burst into the southern hemisphere, crossing the equator overnight and escaping the calms of the doldrums.
GUYOT environnement – Team Europe was the first to break through just after 2am UTC and five and a half hours later, Team Malizia nudged into the south, and the five deep IMOCA fleet are now pushing towards the new southeast tradewinds.
“This is always dangerous to write, so I do so with trepidation, but it seems like we are out of the doldrums and back into the trades,” came the message from 11th Hour Racing Team media man Amory Ross. “I’m writing this under clear skies and 14 knots of wind, 20 knots on the speedo, bow in the sky, reaching at great haste due south. Life, for the moment, is good!”
But it is the heroics of the oldest and heaviest boat in the fleet – Guyot Environnement-Team Europe – which currently holds a useful lead, though it was built on a winning gamble – sailing a shorter distance by staying further east. Traditionally, the faster passage through the doldrums has come by sailing extra miles to the west.
“We were always aiming for as much of a straight line to the south as we could and it seems to have paid off,” said skipper Robert Stanjek. “For sure we had a little bit of luck but that was the call of our navigator (Sebastien Simon) and I’m pretty happy of course that we’ve come out in the lead.”
While the fleet enjoys the building southeast tradewinds, there is still about 160 nautical miles of leverage between east and west, meaning the boats will be sailing different angles and in different conditions for the immediate future. More ups and downs on the leaderboard can be expected.
11th Hour Racing Teams is hoping the ups come their way as they’ve paid heavily for a westerly route, though it may be a long game they are playing as the fleet approaches the Brazilian coastline.
“We follow the positions of the other boats in the fleet every hour and it’s a big separation between the boats – it’s ocean racing! We’re not sailing the fastest angle at the moment but we don’t want to give away the height (position to the east) we’ve invested in,” Stanjek concluded.
Timings at the equator:
• GUYOT environnement – Team Europe – 31/01/2023 02:05:11 UTC – 5d 07h 55min 11s – 1 269.4 nm – 9.9 kts
• Biotherm – 31/01/2023 02:26:35 UTC – 5d 08h 16min 35s – 1 275.8 nm – 9.9 kts
• Team Holcim – PRB – 31/01/2023 03:13:44 UTC – 5d 09h 03min 44s – 1 404.0 nm – 10.9 kts
• 11th Hour Racing Team – 31/01/2023 05:12:26 UTC – 5d 11h 02min 26s – 1413.3 nm – 10.8 kts
• Team Malizia – 31/01/2023 07:32:13 UTC – 5d 13h 22min 13s – 1 500.3 nm – 11.2 kts
A first equator crossing is always a rite of passage in the career of a sailor and is celebrated by a visit from “King Neptune” with initiation ceremonies to be completed. This time was no different for the equatorial rookies.
Life on board at these latitudes can be uncomfortable due to the extreme heat, but there is a benefit to all that sunshine – solar power!
“We’re basically running the boat 100 per cent off solar energy. The watermaker, all the instruments can be powered by the sun, so that’s very nice,” said Rosalin Kuiper, on board Team Malizia.
Leg Two Rankings at 1400 UTC
1. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, distance to finish, 3662.0 miles
2. Biotherm, distance to leader, 35.1 miles
3. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to leader, 50.3 miles
4. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to leader, 65.0 miles
5. Team Malizia, distance to leader, 105.1 miles
With race management predicting a 14-15-day passage time for Leg 2, the leading boats are expected to arrive in Cape Town on or around February 8 or 9.
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