The rankings have flipped over the weekend with 11th Hour Racing Team jumping into the lead of The Ocean Race as teams fight to get east
After an extended doldrums crossing and a larger than usual St Helena high forcing the fleet way to the west of the Atlantic The Ocean Race fleet are finally back up to speed in the South Atlantic and are now locked in a drag race towards the finish of leg 2 in Cape Town, South Africa.
The American-flagged 11th Hour Racing Team have pushed into the lead over the weekend as skipper Charlie Enright and his crew held their nerve over an early decision to take a westerly routing on the descent down the Atlantic and the choice paid dividends on Saturday afternoon and overnight into Sunday.
Amory Ross reports from 11th Hour Racing Team: “From here it’s a bit of a zig zag course trying to gybe in the shifts and continue to use the windy features rolling west to east across the South Atlantic to get down, and to get east, quickly. We’ll keep zigging and we’ll keep zagging until we’re far enough south that we can skirt around the southern boundary of the St Helena High. At that point it’s just east, and eventually back north to Cape Town. We’re coming up on a relatively fast part of the course so the pedal is down and if the winds cooperate there should be some nice 24 hour runs in our future.”
The team wakes up on Monday morning at the top of the rankings as the closest boat to Cape Town, just bow forward on Team Holcim-PRB and Team Malizia, who was the other big gainer over the weekend.
Malizia skipper Will Harris and his team had also subscribed to the ‘west is best’ theory and went from a fifth place ranking, over 220 miles behind the leader, to being right back in the thick of things with the tight group of 11th Hour Racing Team, Holcim-PRB and Biotherm.
“It’s so cool… We were 200 miles behind and now we’ve just gybed and crossed in front (of Biotherm),” said Rosalin Kuiper from on board Team Malizia. “It’s magical. We’re so happy to see it like this!”
Sliding down the table over the past 48 hours, GUYOT environnement – Team Europe undoubtedly lost a few miles due to a blown out spinnaker, but more significanlty, found themselves in light winds, positioned too far to the east. Now they are trailing the gang of four, trying to stay in touch, but still closer to the light winds of the St. Helena High and struggling to match speeds with the rest of the fleet.
But although 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia have been the big winners this weekend, there is still nearly a week of racing left in leg 2 and with the boats still grouped so closely together, there is plenty left to play for.
The ETA for Cape Town is on Sunday February 12.
Follow the latest positions on the Race Tracker
Leg Two Rankings at 0800 UTC – 6 February 2023
1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 2027.6 miles
2. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 18.4 miles
3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 28.8 miles
4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 70.1 miles
5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, distance to lead, 272.6 miles
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