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The Ocean Race: Maximum concentration on board Holcim-PRB as they approach Cape Verde

by Team HOLCIM - PRB 20 Jan 12:23 PST From 15 January 2023
Team HOLCIM - PRB - The Ocean Race © Julien Champolion | PolaRYSE | Holcim-PRB

Kevin Escoffier, Tom Laperche, Abby Ehler and Sam Goodchild have only 171,5 nautical miles to go (4pm GMT rankings) to conclude this first leg of The Ocean Race. But there's no question of letting their attention wane.

While the Swiss-flagged monohull maintains its position at the head of the fleet, the team remains cautious and is trying to make the most of the milder sailing conditions. The swell has grown and the blue and green 60' is progressing at lightning speeds towards Mindelo on the island of Sao Vincente in the Cape Verde archipelago where the finish will be judged next night.

Holcim-PRB has averaged 19 knots over the last 24 hours and the images sent from onboard by reporter Julien Champolion show that the crew is 100% focused on the adjustments. The atmosphere has warmed up and the sailors have been able to take off their oilskins, but the physical commitment seems to be as strong as ever on board the foiler, which is being launched at full speed. After the small technical problems at the beginning of the race, the team can take advantage of a boat at its maximum potential for this final sprint, as Kevin Escoffier explains: "The repairs we made have held. There are inevitably some small details that we will have to review. We will check the boat at the finish, especially the fittings, because of the strong wind conditions we had to deal with in the Mediterranean, but nothing serious. We will have plenty of time to fix everything in Cape Verde."

In the rear of Holcim-PRB, the American Charlie Enright and his crew of 11th Hour Racing Team are only 67,3 nautical miles away. A little further back, 89,6 miles behind, in third place, Team Malizia is trying to make up ground. The arrival on the archipelago will be a very tense affair, as the wind will be very strong as they approach the volcanic islands. The wind can indeed be disturbed by the peaks of the surrounding islands, even if Sao Vincente is relatively flat. And at night, it is even more difficult to anticipate these variations, to spot the fishermen without light or the buoys of traps. If Kevin Escoffier and his crew have protected their leadership so far, they also know that the slightest mistake can be costly! Until the end of these 1,900 miles of Mediterranean-Atlantic sprint, vigilance will be required. Winning this first stage of the round-the-world race would be a great start for the Go Circular project which was the last to announce its participation in this extreme race.

The Holcim-PRB crew is united and focused on the same objective of victory. "The challenge at the end of this race is to stay focused. We know that in sailing, it's never over. On board, we are continuing our watch system. We haven't changed this way of doing things since the start of the race. The atmosphere is excellent, it feels good! It's really great to sail like this, while being efficient and concentrated. We are all sailing in a good mood! Everyone is really on the same wavelength. So I'm really enjoying sailing with these people, and I don't regret the choice of the crew in any way" concludes the skipper of Holcim-PRB.

The crew is expected to arrive in Mindelo tomorrow morning, Saturday, between 03:00 and 05:00 UT, or between 04:00 and 06:00 HF.

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