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What an exciting finish for Holcim-PRB with 48 hours to go on Leg 3 of The Ocean Race

by Team HOLCIM - PRB 31 Mar 05:13 PDT
Holcim-PRB neck and neck with Team Malizia with 48 hours to go on Leg 3 of The Ocean Race © Julien Champolion | polaRYSE | Holcim-PRB

Neck and neck with Team Malizia, Kevin Escoffier, Tom Laperche, Abby Ehler and Sam Goodchild are engaged in a breathtaking battle with only 700 miles left to go. After 33 days of racing, the two monohulls are sailing within sight of each other and takes turns in the lead.

It has been a fortnight now since the gaps separating the boats have reduced and the teams onboard can now see the other boats from their porthole. But since they have rounded Cape Horn on Monday, Team Malizia and Holcim-PRB have relegated their pursuers to more than 300 miles, leaving the way clear for a high-flying match race to win Brazil.

Since this morning at 05:00 UTC, Kevin Escoffier's monohull has been leading the way with a bit of a bow. But the distance separating Holcim-PRB from Team Malizia is still very small (2.9 miles in the 08:00 UTC rankings) and with 48 hours to go before the finish, no one can say who will win this legendary leg, the longest ever recorded in the 50 year of history of the race.

The crew of Holcim-PRB finds all its energy in the adrenaline that this high level competition offers. Keeping up with the rhythm, staying focused, managing each wind shift as well as possible, not getting trapped in light winds and anticipating the return of stronger conditions...

These are the challenges of the moment! Everyone on board wants to believe in a brilliant finish in Brazil, even if no one is expressing it clearly, as the game of regatta on a global scale is so fascinating. The zone of light wind that the boats are currently crossing is a saving grace and allows the sailors to rest their bodies. After this zone, the current leaders in the general ranking will have to negotiate the passage of a last low-pressure system, the effects of which they will feel from the end of the afternoon and for 24 hours.

Sustained winds are expected and the team will have to control the risks they take: "We're going to take advantage of this zone of light winds to sleep, because after more than 30 days at sea, the crew is tired. We need to regain our strength to cross this last low pressure area. We are expecting 35 to 40 knots of wind over the next two days, which will be the last big weather system we will encounter before arriving in Itajaí", says the skipper, barely looking away from the weather files.

The slightest mistake can be costly, while the Holcim-PRB team has been almost faultless since the start in Cape Town, on February 26th. "The conditions for the finish are likely to be complicated, and a bit tough at the end. It's true that we trained well during sailing up the South Atlantic. We had really difficult conditions, with a night with 55 knots of wind, and a night where the boat stayed laying on the side for 20 minutes.

"We're going to have to stay on our toes and not let go for the next 48 hours if we want to stay ahead of Team Malizia" added Sam Goodchild.

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