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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Biotherm at the start of Leg 6 of The Ocean Race - Condensed, coastal, copious

by Voile Biotherm 7 Jun 13:46 PDT
Paul Meilhat - Biotherm crew for The Ocean Race © Voile Biotherm

800 miles. It's the shortest course in The Ocean Race, but it's certainly not "a little leg". As in the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen - the Danish author born on the island of Funen, which the fleet will have to round - The Ocean Race heroes will have many obstacles to overcome if they are to stand a chance of a happy ending in The Hague (Holland), terminus for this 6th and penultimate opus.

Out on the water, this three-day sprint along the coast will be brisk, with a series of sleepless nights. It's a format which greatly appeals to the crew of Biotherm, who are now focused on a single goal: securing victory. Start tomorrow, Thursday, at 16:10 UTC.

"It's going to be really full-on. A genuine hurdles race," explains Anthony Marchand, who is back aboard the blue boat alongside Paul Meilhat, Alan Roberts, Mariana Lobato and Anne Beaugé.

"It's a leg for Figaro sailors, continues 'Antho', which is lucky, because between all of us aboard, we've racked up 24 Solitaires!"

An initial ultra-coastal section will take the fleet along the meandering Kategatt. There the IMOCAs will have to carve out a wake between the islands of Denmark to hunt down the first mark off the German city of Kiel. From there, they'll have to escape this maritime labyrinth and head for the North Sea, where they'll dive along the Dutch coast amidst the sandbanks and shipping lanes.

"There will be a massive amount of stuff going on. Lots of positioning in relation to our rivals, tactical and strategic questions, sail changes, stacking and manoeuvres. It'll be important not to fall asleep in front of the cartography! We'll be neck and neck and we must fight for every metre. In short, we're not going to get much sleep." The brief snatches of rest will be all the more hypothetical given that the start of the race is set to be coloured by light airs.

Galvanised by its success in the In-Port Race in Aarhus, the Biotherm team intends to give it their best shot, despite the significant fatigue amassed over what is soon to be 6 months of racing and a late finish in Denmark. "We're keen to treat ourselves to something special and to battle hard for ourselves, the sailors, for the shore crew and for the sponsor. We're still in high spirits and everyone is working flat out," warns Antho.

With the return of Guyot Environnement, there will be five IMOCA competitors on the start line once again. The front runners are expected into The Hague (Holland) on 11 June where The Ocean Race is putting into port for the third time in its history. In this European and international stronghold, which plays host to a great many sailing competitions, the stopover will be rather short-lived as the curtain rises on the final act on 15 June.

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