Please select your home edition
Edition
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

The Ocean Race Leg 2 Day 4: Lining up

by The Ocean Race 28 Jan 2023 05:58 PST 28 January 2023
The Ocean Race Leg 2 onboard Biotherm © Anne Beauge / Biotherm

The IMOCA sailors are picking their slot to line up for the doldrums crossing

Stakes are high as The Ocean Race fleet begins to settle into position for crossing the equator and passing through the doldrums (officially the Intertropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ).

From wikipedia: "The Intertropical Convergence Zone, known by sailors as the doldrums because of its monotonous windless weather, is the area where the northeast and the southeast trade winds converge. It encircles Earth near the thermal equator though its specific position varies seasonally..."

As one can imagine, 'monotonous, windless weather' isn't a good place for a yacht race. The teams will be looking to cross through as quickly as possible and get into the southeast trade winds. But this is easier said than done.

At the moment, a crossing further to the west would appear to be advantageous as the band of light conditions is slightly narrower.

But it's a balance. Cape Town is still to the southeast, so every mile sailed directly west only adds to the miles evenutally sailed towards the finish line. Determining when to make the push south and into the doldrums is the decision being taken right now.

The line-up appears to be GUYOT environnement - Team Europe attempting to cut the corner over 100 nautical miles to the east of Biotherm, who is just 20 miles east of 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Holcim-PRB. Taking a flyer out to the west, behind the fleet, is Team Malizia, who will hope that the others stall and they can gain back the miles they've invested in their choice.

"This race isn't going to be won here, it's going to be won or lost in the Doldrums," said 11th Hour Racing Team skipper Charlie Enright. "[Our plan is to] go in there close (to the others), and see what happens. Eventually everyone will end up on port and head south at the point they want to cross the Doldrums. Once you are in the Doldrums, it's anyone's game."

This weekend, the advantage position on the tracker is potentially at its least accurate, as the tracker can't account for an undetermined gain that may (or may not) be realised by sailing further west. Keep that in mind until the fleet emerge back into the tradewinds on Sunday/Monday.

One of the other differences to emerge since the start is the speeds and angles the boats can sail according to sail selection. Teams are allowed eight sails on board and the choice appears to have been on whether to carry the A2 headsail. Amory Ross explains:

"There are two camps in the fleet out here: those with A2s and those without. A2s are the big white spinnaker-y things. It's clear Holcim-PRB and Malizia chose not to bring theirs in favor of another sail. Their black A3s require higher, hotter angles to get up to speed and so while ourselves and Biotherm have managed to stay relatively low and in the same stretch of ocean, we've lost touch (at times) with Holcim, spearing off to the northwest and out of AIS range. You can see the same difference in angles between Malizia and GUYOT, who with their A2 has been much lower all the time and they've done well to shave the miles and sail through the back of the fleet."

Holcim PRB skipper Kevin Escoffier acknowledges they're feeling some pain.

"The boats in front of us have been a better it seems, but it's also about the sail choice," he explains. "We decided not to take a sail that would have been useful now. We are paying a bit since the start for this choice. But we are doing our best not to lose too much and hopefully in the south Atlantic we will gain with the sail we have and they don't have. It's part of the game."

It will be fascinating game to watch play out this weekend.

Leg Two Rankings at 1200 UTC - 28 January 2023:

1. Biotherm, distance to finish, 4207.1 miles
2. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to leader, 6.9 miles
3. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to leader, 8.0 miles
4. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, distance to leader, 8.2 miles
5. Team Malizia, distance to leader, 225.5 miles

www.theoceanrace.com/en/racing/tracker

Related Articles

Bernardo Freitas to skipper Racing for the Planet
In the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy 2024 The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team announces that former team watch captain Bernardo Freitas (POR) will lead the Team in the 2024 edition of The Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, in July. Posted on 9 May
The Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy preview
A sustainable regatta that will see sailing boats take to the Atlantic coast of Portugal Organised in partnership with the Clube Naval de Cascais, the sustainable regatta will see a large number of sailing boats take to the Atlantic coast of Portugal, to raise awareness and important funds for marine conservation programs. Posted on 24 Apr
The Ocean Race will return to Genova
A key stopover for The Ocean Race Europe in 2025 The Italian city of Genova and The Ocean Race will extend their close relationship with The Ocean Race Europe bringing a fleet of foiling IMOCA race boats to the Mediterranean port in the late summer of 2025. Posted on 24 Apr
The Ocean Race joins world leaders in Athens
Nature's Baton and the Relay4Nature connect at Our Ocean Conference The Ocean Race joined world leaders at the Our Ocean Conference 2024 at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens, Greece on Tuesday, who had gathered to advance measures to protect and restore ocean health. Posted on 17 Apr
The Ocean Race sails into Athens
For the Our Ocean Conference UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean hands Nature's Baton to Greece's Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Oceans and Coordinator of the conference. Posted on 15 Apr
The Ocean Race and IOC UNESCO collaborate
Contributing towards the science we need for the ocean we want In the lead up to the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference, The Ocean Race today shared the impact of the data collected by teams and sailors through the race's science on board programme. Posted on 9 Apr
The Ocean Race gathers critical polar ocean data
From Antarctica and the Northwest Passage The Ocean Race is providing critical data to international scientists studying the impact of climate change and plastic pollution on ocean health. Posted on 8 Apr
The Ocean Race Europe 2025 will start from Kiel
Aim is to combine this event with the topic of ocean health and protection Organisers of The Ocean Race have confirmed Kiel.Sailing.City as the host of the start of The Ocean Race Europe during a press conference in Kiel on Wednesday morning. Posted on 14 Feb
The Ocean Race ends an epic 2023 on a high note
An incredible race year comes to a close An incredible race year comes to a close with the Notice of Race released for The Ocean Race Europe in 2025 and The Ocean Race 2026-27 along with comprehensive reports on the 2023 event... Posted on 21 Dec 2023
The Ocean Race wins the Sustainability Award
In the International Sports Awards 2023 The Ocean Race, the toughest and longest test of a team in sport, has taken the top prize in the Sustainability category of the 2023 International Sports Awards, hosted by the International Sports Convention. Posted on 7 Dec 2023
Rooster Women's Wetsuit RangeNorth Sails Performance 2023 - FOOTERSOUTHERN-SPARS-MISSY-FURLING-BOOMS-728-X-90 Bottom