Please select your home edition
Hella Dual Colour Floodlights - Top 728 x 90px - 6 jpg

The Ocean Race Leg 2 Day 6: Nervous times

by The Ocean Race 30 Jan 08:06 PST 30 January 2023
The Ocean Race Leg 2, Day 5 onboard Biotherm - A tornado under a squall © Anne Beauge / Biotherm

Tensions run high as wind and boat speeds hit new lows with the IMOCA fleet crossing an unusually large doldrums.

It's been a difficult 24 hours for the entire fleet as the five IMOCA teams become fully engulfed in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, better known as the doldrums.

The light, fickle winds, random storm cells and clouds that bring sudden puffs of wind along with rain and thunder and lightning, mean days and nights of uncertainty.

The prize for escape is immense - the promise of steady southeasterly tradewinds south of the equator and acceleration towards the final goal, the finish in Cape Town.

Watch Holcim - PRB drifting through the doldrums

See GUYOT environnement - Team Europe tackle the doldrums

See Biotherm sail past a waterspout

Watch 11th Hour Racing Team search for wind

Team Malizia's Will Harris explains the doldrums

Historically, the band of light winds that characterise the doldrums is smaller the further west one is. This has dictated the strategy of all of the teams as they left Cabo Verde. But with Cape Town to the east, there was debate over how many extra miles to sail away from the finish in order to have a potentially easier passage through the doldrums.

At the extremes, GUYOT envirionnement - Team Europe has been trying to cut the corner in the east, while Team Malizia hit the traditionally safer option nearly 200 miles to the west. In between, from east to west, lie Biotherm, Team Holcim-PRB and 11th Hour Racing Team.

"We're at the gateway to the doldrums and we're still going fast," said Team Malizia skipper Will Harris on Sunday evening. "We're going twice as fast as the other boats right now and we just need to keep going like this, keep the boat moving. If we get a bit of luck and keep our fingers crossed, maybe we'll catch up some miles. But let's see - the doldrums can do anything."

According to the tracker, 'anything' is exactly what is playing out.

Malizia has slowed down, after making good gains and closing to within 90 miles on the leaderboard and about 50 miles on the north-south axis.

Interestingly, GUYOT environnement - Team Europe has so far escaped punishment for its easterly track and at 1300 UTC is ahead of the fleet both on the leaderboard and as the most southerly boat.

"The doldrums is really wide this time," said Sebastien Simon on GUYOT. "It won't be finished until at least the equator."

"No clouds but no wind," said a subdued Paul Meilhat on Biotherm. "We maybe did only 7 or 8 miles all night. Not a lot. There is also a little bit of current in front, so when there is no wind sometimes we are probably going backwards. But this morning is better."

The equator and the crossing into the Southern hemisphere is still about 100 miles away and depending on your luck, anywhere between 12 and 24 hours in the future.

Leg Two Rankings at 1300 UTC - 30 January 2023:

1. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, distance to finish, 3909.4 miles
2. Biotherm, distance to leader, 21.3 miles
3. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to leader, 33.3 miles
4. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to leader, 44.9 miles
5. Team Malizia, distance to leader, 87.7 miles

Related Articles

The Ocean Race launch Metaverse experience
An experience to engage fans and businesses in a new way The Ocean Race launched a metaverse experience pilot today with Virtual Regatta and Accenture to engage fans and businesses in a new way with the world-renowned, global yacht race. Posted on 28 Mar
The Ocean Race Leg 3 Day 21
All lined up with one way to go On Saturday it seemed as if the race couldn't get any closer. By Sunday morning UTC that was proved wrong. Today, all four teams are lined up on a 13 mile line. Posted on 19 Mar
The Ocean Race Leg 3 Day 19
Coming together in the not-so-Furious 50s As forecast, lighter than usual conditions just ahead of the fleet have provided an effective re-start of leg 3, just after the four IMOCAs reached the halfway point of the longest stage in the history of the race. Posted on 17 Mar
The Ocean Race Leg 3 Day 18
Steady progress towards Cape Horn Team Holcim PRB retains its lead on Thursday, as the fleet compresses to within 100 miles. As per the forecast yesterday, the leader is slowing slightly and the trailing boats are nibbling into the lead Posted on 16 Mar
The Ocean Race Leg 3 Day 8
All four race boats are in the Roaring 40s, with speeds to match Team Holcim-PRB continues to hold a 500-plus mile lead on leg 3 of The Ocean Race, but the pursuing pack of three is making small gains by pushing forward at record-breaking pace. Posted on 5 Mar
GUYOT environnement Team Europe: No time to lose
Four days of crew tension after delamination of a hull bottom panel GUYOT environnement - Team Europe has reached Cape Town and brought the yacht safely back to port after the suspension of the third leg of The Ocean Race. Posted on 5 Mar
GUYOT environnement Team Europe prepare for repair
Cautiously sailing back towards Cape Town 600 nautical miles after the start of the third leg of The Ocean Race, skipper Benjamin Dutreux's crew found that part of the hull had become unstable and delaminated. Posted on 3 Mar
The Ocean Race Leg 3 Day 5
Team Holcim-PRB escapes to the east, repairs underway on Team Malizia's mast In this edition of The Ocean Race, Kevin Escoffier's Team Holcim-PRB has selected Sia's "Unstoppable" as its team song for dockout and stage ceremonies, and early into Leg 3 it has never seemed more appropriate. Posted on 2 Mar
Wild start to Leg 3 from Cape Town
The Ocean Race starts in up to 25 knots, and two teams suspend It was an extraordinary 'stop-go' type of start to Leg 3 of The Ocean Race in Table Bay as the five-boat IMOCA fleet set out on their 12,750 nautical mile adventure towards Itajaí in Brazil. Posted on 26 Feb
The Ocean Race Cape Leg 3: An enthralling ride
A monster of a leg awaits the fleet - longest in 50 year history of the race At over 12,750 nautical miles, Leg 3 will be the longest ever in the 50 years since this race began. When the boats cast off from the dock at midday in Cape Town on Sunday, this will be the most emotional departure for friends and family. Posted on 25 Feb
Hyde Sails 2022 One Design SALE FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTERMarine Resources 2022 Salary Survey FOOTER