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At 800 nautical miles, Leg 6 may be the shortest of The Ocean Race 2022-23 but it is also one of the most complex.

From the start in Aarhus. the fleet will head south for a fly-by in Kiel before turning north to head back up the eastern side of Denmark. Once around the top of the country, the fleet exits the Baltic and heads out into the North Sea for the run south to the finish in The Hague, anticipated to be on Saturday evening (10 June).

“The leg to The Hague via Kiel is one of the most complex and ambitious we have taken on,” said race director Phil Lawrence. “The narrow channels and confined waters make it tricky from a navigation point of view, but so too is catering for the large amounts of leisure and commercial traffic as we get close to Kiel. We’ve been told to expect over 100,000 spectators and up to 1,000 boats which has meant a great deal of planning that includes a detailed marshalling schedule.

“As an indication of the local impact that this leg will have, the Kiel canal will be closed for two hours and commercial shipping has been suspended in the immediate area.

“But on top of this, the range of speeds that the IMOCAs are capable of adds another level of complexity. As I’m often told by the IMOCA crews, these boats have four speeds: zero, 10, 20 and 30 knots and not much in between. A small increase in wind strength by a few knots has a big effect on their speed.”

With such a wide range of potential performances, planning for a specific arrival time is clearly difficult. This looks set to be especially tricky given the forecast for the first part of the leg where a light southerly breeze is expected to veer to the northwest during the passage south. Add to this the local effects through the fjord and around islands and the complexity of the leg for organisers and crews is clear to see.

“Compared to a trans-oceanic leg with lots of strategic options, now the focus will be on navigation and the management of transitions, basically getting the timing of sail changes right,” said 11th Hour Racing Team navigator Simon Fisher.

“Deciding whether you invest in getting to the new breeze or stay on track and wait for it to come to you, is going to be one of many key decisions.”

Paul Meilhat, skipper of the In-Port Race-winning Biotherm, agrees that this leg requires a different approach which is reflected in his choice of crew.

“For us this is like what we do a lot in France,” he said. “I’m lucky because I have two Figaro specialists, Alan Roberts and Anthony Marchand who have 25 races between them. Apart from tactics the big issue will be the speed. From 10-12 knots of wind speed the boat speed can leap from 12 knots to 25 knots and with that kind of speed difference it doesn’t take much to stretch out a 30-mile lead.”

Team Malizia’s Will Harris is also thinking about the conditions, especially for the first night.

“Looking at the weather forecast it looks likely that the first stage will be the hardest with light breeze for the first night, with lots of transitions, with the risk of the breeze going around in circles,” he said. “Trying to get out of that cleanly will be really important because if one boat gets the jump on the fleet, they could well hold onto that lead when the conditions settle down as the wind comes in from the east. It’s going to be a coastal race on the first night and it’s going to be intense.”

And then there’s the issue of points. With just one point separating the leaders 11th Hour Racing Team from Team Holcim-PRB and with Team Malizia just four points further back, a shuffle on the leaderboard is a distinct possibility.

The fact that the fleet is now back up to five boats with the return of GUYOT environnement-Team Europe - who arrived in Aarhus on Wednesday after a herculean effort to rejoin the race following their dismasting - provides even greater opportunities for the pecking order to change.

Team JAJO in speed trials in Aarhus on Tuesday 6 June | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceTeam JAJO in speed trials in Aarhus on Tuesday 6 June | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

For the VO65 fleet, the route to The Hague is less complex as they do not head south for the Kiel fly-by. Instead, from the start they head north, exit the Baltic and then head south to The Hague. But even without the dive south to Kiel, this is still a challenging leg.

“The number of traffic separation schemes and exclusion zones make this a complex leg to navigate,” said The Ocean Race veteran Bouwe Bekking, who is aboard with Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team. “Then there are the wind farms to avoid along with plenty of shipping, there’s plenty to take into account on this leg. The sheer number of waypoints in the sailing instructions for this leg make it very clear.”

So, while this is one of the most ambitious and complex legs, for the teams it is also one of the most tactically challenging for all.

Thursday’s leg start from Aarhus marks the start of Leg 6 of The Ocean Race for IMOCA fleet and the start of Stage 2 of the VO65 Sprint for the VO65 fleet. Racing is scheduled to start at 16:10 CEST for the VO65s and at 18:15 CEST for the IMOCA fleet.

The weather forecast for Thursday is for a light to moderate sea breeze near 7-10 knots, establishing and building as the day progresses.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Aarhus, come down to Ocean Live Park in Havnepladsen to catch the action or follow along on Event TV. Live coverage of the IMOCA start for viewers in Ireland will be on Eurosport and discovery+ from 4.30pm.

Start times – Thursday 8 June (all times local)

VO65 Sprint - Stage 2 - Aarhus to The Hague

16:05 - Warning signal
16:10 - LEG START

IMOCA - Leg 6 - Aarhus -> Kiel fly-by -> The Hague

18:10 - Warning signal
18:15 - LEG START

Published in Ocean Race
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The sun was shining on Sunday (4 June), as it has been throughout the entire Aarhus stopover, and that meant a building sea breeze would be the order of the day for the In-Port Racing programme.

This marked the return of the VO65 class to The Ocean Race, as the fleet comes back to continue racing in the VO65 Sprint.

In the IMOCA class, with the overall race leaderboard so close at the top, the In-Port Race results take on greater importance as a tie-breaking mechanism for The Ocean Race.

It was a day of comebacks, with the return of the VO65 fleet and Biotherm taking their first win after only arriving in Aarhus yesterday evening.

As the IMOCAs got underway just after 1400 local time (1200 UTC), the sea breeze had built to nearly 10 knots, providing steady conditions for the fleet. The rectangular configuration race course was set at three laps.

As the clock counted down, the first decision for crews was focused on the sail configuration. Judging whether the breeze had built to its peak or whether there was more to come was the key pre-start decision. After that, judging the time on distance approach into the start was critical.

Biotherm and Team Holcim-PRB were closest to the start line in the final moments and appeared to be struggling to kill their pace.

Meanwhile, having started their run from further back, 11th Hour Racing Team looked like they could maintain more of their momentum.

Biotherm wins the IMOCA In-Port Race in Aarhus | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceBiotherm wins the IMOCA In-Port Race in Aarhus | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

But as the gun went, it was Biotherm that timed their approach and building speed perfectly to hit the line at the leeward end at pace, gaining the initial advantage as the four boats made their way up the first leg.

By mark one, Biotherm led with Team Holcim-PRB in second, 11th Hour Racing Team third and Team Malizia in fourth.

Leg three saw Biotherm stretch their lead over the fleet on the long reach back down towards the bottom of the course.

Biotherm only arrived in Aarhus late on Saturday night after a difficult and frustrating transatlantic leg, making their dominant performance all the more impressive.

Judging when to tack on leg four to lay the next mark was another key decision to ensure no distance was given away. Once again Biotherm picked the perfect spot and gained over the rest of the fleet as a result. On the second lap they had drawn out to 640m ahead of Holcim-PRB.

Towards the end of that lap Biotherm delivered another perfect rounding of marks three and four to extend their lead even further.

Behind them life wasn’t easy. With a strong incentive to try to cut the distance to the upwind mark there was a temptation to tack too early. Team Holcim-PRB almost fell foul of this but got away with it, while Team Malizia did not and ended up squeezing up to the mark, losing more distance as a result.

On the final lap it was more of the same from Biotherm with a perfect performance stretching the lead even further to take the in-port win in Aarhus.

Meanwhile, 11th Hour Racing team took distance out of Holcim-PRB to the point that on the downwind leg at the top of the course, there was an opportunity for Charlie Enright’s team to gain a place. But sailing low in an attempt to catch Holcim-PRB on the give-way port tack slowed their progress too much and gave away distance instead.

Team Holcim-PRB finished second, 11th Hour Racing Team third and Team Malizia fourth.

“We won the start and when you win the start in an In-Port Race it’s easy after,” Paul Meilhat said following the race. “We were a bit faster off the line than Team Holcim-PRB and that was it. We are really happy and I dedicate this win to our shore team who have worked so hard to get us out here. It’s our first victory so it means a lot to us.”

“It’s a first step for the new crew,” said Team Holcim-PRB skipper Benjamin Schwartz. “We managed to get around the course nicely. We had a bit of tension when 11th Hour Racing Team came back on us a little bit, but the team did a great job to stay in front.”

IMOCA - Aarhus In-Port Race - Results

  1. Biotherm - 5 points
  2. Team Holcim-PRB - 4 points
  3. 11th Hour Racing Team - 3 points
  4. Team Malizia - 2 points
  5. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe - 0 points

Earlier in the day, it had been the VO65s who took to the race course first, in light winds of five to seven knots as the sea breeze was only just getting established.

As the seconds counted down to the start, initially it was WindWhisper Racing Team that appeared to have the early momentum although a round-up manoeuvre at the pin end slowed them down. Instead, it was Team JAJO that got the best start delivering a perfect time-on-distance run into the middle of the start line.

A few minutes later, WindWhisper had built their pace once again to pull themselves into the lead. By the first mark, WindWhisper led, followed by Team Jajo who rounded 16 seconds behind. In third place it was Viva México, closely followed by Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team.

WindWhisper Racing Team leading the fleet in the VO65 Sprint Cup In-Port Race in Aarhus | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceWindWhisper Racing Team leading the fleet in the VO65 Sprint Cup In-Port Race in Aarhus | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

After a short reaching top leg it was a gybe at mark two for a longer broad reaching leg back down towards the start area.

So far the manoeuvres had been kind to the boat speed with bear aways and gybes helping to keep the speed on. Keeping momentum was critical.

Leg four was an upwind affair and it was here that crews came under a great deal more pressure to maintain their pace. For WindWhisper, a well-timed approach and a slight gust provided a smooth mark rounding. The same was true for Team Jajo as the pair stretched their lead on the rest of the fleet.

When it came to the tack to reach mark four, both boats delivered perfect executions, helped by a slight increase in the breeze.

Meanwhile further back, there was a tight battle between third placed Viva México and Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team as the pair duelled for mark four with less than a boat length between them.

The second lap of the course didn’t provide any passing opportunities and skipper Pablo Arrarte’s WindWhisper Racing Team held off Team JAJO for the win. It was a flawless performance and a great win for the Polish team as the VO65 Sprint reignites.

“It’s been awesome to get back into the race,” said WindWhisper skipper Pablo Arrarte. “We’ve been away from the race for a while, watching the IMOCAs, which has been great, but it’s time to get back.

“We’ve had some changes on the crew but had an opportunity to train here for the last 10 days so we were confident we could handle all the situations today. It was a tricky day and the start was so important, but we managed okay and we got a good lead there and we were able to hold it.”

VO65 Sprint - Aarhus In-Port Race - Results

  1. WindWhisper Racing - 6 points
  2. Team JAJO - 5 points
  3. Viva México - 4 points
  4. Trifork Mirpuri Racing - 3 points
  5. Austrian Ocean Racing / Team Genova - 2 points
  6. Ambersail - did not start - 0 points
Published in Ocean Race
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Preliminary results from the initial legs of the current edition of The Ocean Race show microplastics in each one of the 40 samples analysed so far, with as many as 1,884 microplastic particles per cubic metre of water in some locations.

Samples analysed from Leg 2 of the round-the-world sailing race, from Cabo Verde to Cape Town, found microplastic concentrations ranging from 92 to 1,884 particles pm3.

The samples of microplastics were of similar levels to the samples collected during Leg 3, the longest leg in the race’s 50-year history, a 12,750-nautical-mile journey through the Southern Ocean. Despite being one of the most remote parts of the planet, 160 to 1,492 particles pm3 were found in samples collected during this section of the race, between Cape Town in South Africa and Itajaí in Brazil.

Microplastics are being collected throughout the 60,000km race using an onboard sampling unit, a special filter system designed to collect plastic particles (between 0.03mm and 5mm), which is carried onboard by two teams: GUYOT environnement - Team Europe and Team Holcim - PRB.

The unit works by drawing water in and through a filter over a two-hour period to capture the microplastics. New samples are taken each day by the sailors and, after each leg, are provided to the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in the UK for analysis, with support from the University of Rhode Island, USA. NOC recently became a scientific collaborator of The Ocean Race, reflecting the two organisations dedication to using the race’s platform to accelerate ocean science.

GUYOT environnement - Team Europe and Team Holcim-PRB are each carrying a sampling unit, a special filter system designed to collect plastic particles from the ocean | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceGUYOT environnement - Team Europe and Team Holcim-PRB are each carrying a sampling unit, a special filter system designed to collect plastic particles from the ocean | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Victoria Fulfer, visiting scientist from the University of Rhode Island at NOC, said: “It’s really concerning that we are finding microplastics in every sample, from coastal areas to the most remote regions of the ocean.

“Over half of our samples so far have more than 500 microplastic particles per cubic metre that are larger than 0.1 mm, and those concentrations only get higher when we look at even smaller particles.

“The problem has become pervasive, and sampling efforts like those captured during this race are vital to help us understand the extent of microplastic pollution in the ocean. The samples collected by teams in The Ocean Race are unique because they cover a large spatial range in a short amount of time, giving scientists a sort of ‘snapshot’ of the state of microplastic pollution in the global ocean for 2023.”

Measurements were highest closest to urban areas, such as around Cabo Verde and South Africa, and in known “garbage patch” areas where ocean circulation leads particles to accumulate.

Stefan Raimund, science lead for The Ocean Race said: “We are learning more and more about just how pervasive microplastics are in the ocean. They are found in species across the marine environment, from plankton to whales, and we are consuming them ourselves in seafood and even drinking water.

“Science is the most powerful weapon we have in fighting this issue. The data we gather can help inform and influence business and governments to make the decisions that can better protect our planet.

“We are making all of the data collected by teams during the race accessible to all, through our new interactive science tool. We’ll be adding more information throughout the race so that the science community, Race fans and anyone else who is interested can explore the data and learn more about the health of the ocean.”

For the first time in the round-the-world race, the chemical structure of the plastic particles is also being examined to help grow understanding about which plastic products are entering the ocean and breaking down into microplastics.

Microplastic collection filters in the laboratory | Credit: Southpoint FilmsMicroplastic collection filters in the laboratory | Credit: Southpoint Films

The most abundant chemical found so far is polyethylene, which is used in many products including single-use packaging, plastic bags and containers such as bottles.

The Ocean Race’s science initiative is part of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, which was created with premier partner 11th Hour Racing. All teams taking part in the competition are involved, carrying a range of equipment that collects data about the impact of human activity on the ocean. 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia carry an OceanPack to capture data about climate change and the ocean, while Biotherm are gathering information on ocean biodiversity.

The results from this edition of the race — which started in Alicante, Spain on 15 January 2023 and will finish in Genoa, Italy with the Grand Finale at the end of June — are significantly higher compared with the microplastic data captured during the last edition in 2017-18.

During the previous edition, samples ranged from 50-100 pm3 with levels thought to be up to 18 times higher this time around because of an increase in microplastic pollution and improvements in the analysis methods and technology. This edition is also analysing microplastic fibres — which are incredibly prevalent — while the 2017-18 edition didn’t test for them.

The Ocean Race is contributing scientific data to the Ocean Decade Odyssey project, which is an endorsed Project of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Develoment (2021-2030) supporting efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and create improved conditions for sustainable development of the ocean.

Published in Marine Science

Conditions in Aarhus have been incredible so far during The Ocean Race stopover and the sunny skies are forecast to continue into Sunday’s In-Port Race (4 June). Crowds have been enjoying the warmth and the city of smiles has been living up to its name.

Sunday’s In-Port Race marks the return of the VO65 fleet as they resume the VO65 Sprint. After racing from Alicante to Cabo Verde in January, the fleet returns with some familiar faces and new sailors getting a first opportunity on the world's greatest crewed offshore race.

For the IMOCA fleet, the In-Port Race series leaderboard acts as a tie-breaking mechanism for the overall results in The Ocean Race. With the points table for the race being so close at the top, results here are very important.

The Ocean Race Aarhus In-Port Race start map

11th Hour Racing Team leads this series and has never finished lower than second place in the four races to date. But despite that impressive streak, they are only one point clear of Team Malizia, while Team Holcim-PRB sits a further six points back.

The VO65 fleet kicks things off on Sunday with racing starting at 12.10 local time (10.10 UTC). Then it will be the IMOCAs at 14.15 local time (12.15 UTC).

The forecast is for a light sea breeze of four to seven knots, which should get more established as the day progresses.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Aarhus, come down to Ocean Live Park in Havnepladsen to catch the action or follow along on Event TV.

In most of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and many parts of Asia, Sunday’s In-Port Race will be available live or on demand on the Eurosport app or discovery+ player.

Published in Ocean Race
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GUYOT environnement - Team Europe has announced its intention to continue in The Ocean Race 2022-23 as it fights for a comeback in Leg 6 out of Aarhus next week.

The boat is currently in the Kiel shipyard Knierim, where the tech team and 10 international boatbuilding experts are working day and night on the hull, mast, foils and rudder following its dismasting in a fierce North Atlantic storm nearly a month ago.

Logistical issues — not limited to the practicalities of shipping the stricken IMOCA from Nova Scotia to northern Europe — have been solved with assistance from GAC Pindar, and the financial gap has been bridged “thanks to the common support and solidarity of many race stakeholders”, the team says.

“This comeback is only possible because of a great collaboration between The Ocean Race family, all of whom worked incredibly hard on the different levels to help us get back in the race,” said team manager Jens Kuphal.

“It was not only a question of whether the repair was technically possible at all in the tight timeframe, but also of setting up the financing for it. We got support from all sides. The Ocean Race was committed to us and all the other teams helped.

“Special thanks go to Biotherm who showed unmatched solidarity and sporting spirit in providing what we needed most. And 11th Hour Racing Team pulled out all the stops to help us acquire their spare mast on very favourable terms. Team Holcim-PRB too, contributed to help get us here.

“But the truth is all of our friends on teams that we normally compete against pulled together to see us have this opportunity to be back on the start line in Aarhus. And none of this would have been possible without the leadership and contributions of The Ocean Race organisation.

“During the last two weeks our team has grown together even more. After the abandonment of the Southern Ocean leg, the dismasting was the second knockdown. But we got up again… We want to make the impossible possible once again and get the boat to the starting line in Aarhus.”

Skipper Benjamin Dutreux said: “The decisions weren’t easy to make. Over the last 15 days, we’ve been in a lot of discussions with a large number of players to see how feasible it would be to rejoin the race from a financial point of view, because it’s a costly logistical challenge, there’s been a lot of damage on board, so it wasn’t just a technical challenge, we had to find a lot of support to be able to bounce back.

“Of course, we had to consider the fact that we’ll be taking part in the Transat Jacques Vabre in October. Inevitably the question of stopping the race came up. This option has always been the last option. It’s been like a sword of Damocles hanging over my head since the dismasting, but deep down I was convinced that we were going to find the necessary solutions to get back into the race.”

GUYOT environnement - Team Europe test out of the shade as they race to ready to the boat for Leg 6 next week | Credit: Gauthier Lebec/GUYOT environnement - Team Europe/The Ocean RaceGUYOT environnement - Team Europe test out of the shade as they race to ready to the boat for Leg 6 next week | Credit: Gauthier Lebec/GUYOT environnement - Team Europe/The Ocean Race

Dutreux addd: “We’ve set up our base camp there at the Knierim Boatyard. The German part of the campaign has local contacts and was able to organise support manpower to be able to repair the boat in five days.”

Gunnar Knierim and Steffen Müller, bosses of the Kiel Knierim shipyard, explain: “We’re up for such a fire brigade mission. That’s what our job is all about. Economic thinking only takes second place here. When the yacht arrived here, we went to work with all enthusiasm. It is super to be involved in this project. Finally, there is a real racing boat in the hall again.”

Thomas Cardrin, head of the tech team, summarises all the technical challenges: When the mast broke, the hull as well as foils and rudders also sustained damage. Eight boatbuilders are currently working day and night on two bulkheads. The keel suspension has to be repaired, which ties up two more boatbuilders for three days. The mast blank from 11th Hour Racing Team now needs to be fitted with the wiring and technical equipment (e.g. radar and Oscar) and adapted to the boat. The replacement mainsail needs new battens.

The work has already progressed considerably in the past few days, so that it is planned to push the yacht out of the shipyard hall on Monday (5 June) and to hang up the keel and foils. On Monday evening it will be put into the water in the Kiel Canal, so that on Tuesday the mast can be set and the sails hoisted.

Benjamin Dutreux summarises: “But here we are, the pieces of the puzzle have been put together and we’ve given the ‘Go’. We’re going to have to fight even harder over the next few days to pull off this commando mission and make it to the start in Aarhus, but we’re more determined than ever!”

Published in Ocean Race
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Denmark’s finance minister Nicolai Halby Wammen has announced that his government will propose a law on nature and biodiversity with a target to protect 20 per cent of the ocean and strictly protect 10 per cent of the ocean.

Speaking at The Ocean Race Summit Aarhus on Thursday (1 June), Wammen said: “I am very proud to say that the Danish government will propose a law on nature and biodiversity and we have set a target to protect 20 per cent of the ocean, and strictly protect 10 per cent of the ocean, meaning that these areas will become essentially undisturbed from human presence.

“This is a very important step which I hope others will follow, because it is very good to speak and dream about how to protect the ocean, but it is not enough: if we are to make a real difference, if we are to make real change, if we are to protect what we love and what we cherish, real action is needed.”

The minister and former mayor of Aarhus added: “As humans, we are here for one brief shining moment, while the ocean has always been here and will remain here. We have not been very good at protecting it, which is something that the city and its people take very seriously. Let’s fight for the ocean as much as the ocean fights for us.”

The event, held during the stopover of the round-the-world sailing race, gathered together over 150 government, civil society and private sector representatives to explore ways in which the international community can come together to protect and regenerate the ocean and recognise its intrinsic rights.

The summit analysed the power of sailing to influence positive change, the close intersection of science, shipping and sailing, the key role of youth in ocean action, the change needed for a more sustainable fashion industry and featured innovative solutions.

Boris Herrmann, skipper of Team Malizia, which last week set a new 24-hour monohull distance record as they raced into Aarhus, covering 641.13 nautical miles, spoke at the Summit as part of a panel that examined how boats can be vessels of opportunity.

Talking about the team’s work to gather scientific data about the state of the ocean to help grow understanding of climate change, he said: “I like these opportunities we are given, we can contribute to science. This helps us learn about it ourselves and to reach out with a message. Sport has the potential to create attention and emotion.”

Leonardo Sonzio, vice president and head of fleet management and technology at Maersk spoke about the opportunities that shipping provides and highlighted the world’s first green methanol powered vessel that will do her maiden voyage this year, arriving in Copenhagen in September.

“This is the start of a new era for shipping,” he said. “We are committed to deliver our decarbonisation targets which are in line with the science-based target — 1.5 degree pathway.”

The Ocean Race Summit Aarhus is part of a series of high-level events to promote the recognition of the inherent rights of the ocean, held in some of the stopover cities that are hosting the teams as they circumnavigate the planet during The Ocean Race 2022-23.

The sixth and penultimate leg of the race next week sees the VO65 fleet rejoin the IMOCAs for a three-day, 800-nautical mile sprint from Aarhus to The Hague in the Netherlands – with the IMOCA fleet making a fly-by visit to Kiel while the VO65s race directly to The Hague.

Much of the early part of the leg takes place in coastal waters, where making the most of the thermal breezes caused by land heating and cooling — as well as dealing effectively with coastal currents — could be key to success.

Published in Ocean Race
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In accordance with The Ocean Race sailing instructions, which allow the race committee to shorten the course for boats still racing, the Leg 5 finish line for Biotherm has been moved to longitude 0-degrees.

Accordingly, the team finished at 10:37:50 UTC on Wednesday (31 May) in fourth place, scoring four points for the leg. Their elapsed time for the shortened course was nine days, 16 hours, 22 minutes and 50 seconds.

While the leg is finished for Biotherm, this hasn’t changed the distance to go to Aarhus, which is still 480 miles away as of Wednesday afternoon — more than two days after 11th Hour Racing Team crossed the finish line in first place.

The team is making way slowly, protecting the stability of the mast despite their broken rigging and is not expected to join the IMOCA fleet at Ocean Live Park before the weekend.

See the latest boat feed from the team, which shows how they are sailing under a jury-rigged shroud towards Aarhus:

Meanwhile, Ocean Live Park in Aarhus is a bustling hub of activity. There has been an opening-day drone show, bands, a VO65 arrival parade of sail, school visits to the learning programme, as well as all manner of entertainment and hospitality. And that’s just the first couple of days.

The Ocean Race Summit takes place on Thursday and the rest of the stopover promises much more in the way of an exciting and engaging visitor experience building up to Sunday’s In Port Racing, ahead of the Leg 6 start next week, with sunshine forecast all the way through.

A drone show entertained onlookers at the Ocean Live Park in Aarhus on Monday 29 May | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceA drone show entertained onlookers at the Ocean Live Park in Aarhus on Monday 29 May | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Leg 5 positions/points

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team - 10 points
  2. Team Holcim-PRB - 8 points
  3. Team Malizia - 6 points
  4. Biotherm - 4 points
  5. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe - suspended racing

The Ocean Race IMOCA Leaderboard (through Leg 5)

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team – 28 points
  2. Team Holcim-PRB – 27 points
  3. Team Malizia – 24 points
  4. Biotherm – 17 points
  5. GUYOT envrionnement - Team Europe – 2 points
Published in Ocean Race
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Skipper Charlie Enright’s smile was as bright as the early morning sun in Aarhus, Denmark on Monday (29 May) as he led his 11th Hour Racing Team to a first-place finish in Leg 5 of The Ocean Race 2022-23.

The win was doubly important — the transatlantic race is a double-points-scoring leg and with the win, 11th Hour Racing Team has climbed to the top of the overall leaderboard for the first time.

“It’s a good feeling to be at the top of the table,” said Enright when he finally stepped ashore. “It’s more important to be on top in July than it is now, but this is a step in the right direction.

“We’ve been trying to make incremental improvements in every area of the campaign,” he said when asked how the team has won the last two legs. “We’ve done that on board the boat, we’ve done that on the technical side, and the logistics side as well as we set ourselves up for success everywhere in the team.”

“We went into this leg knowing that we needed to be aggressive and we needed to have a good result in this leg to stand a chance in the race,” added navigator Simon ‘SiFi’ Fisher. “So we tried to sail aggressively and we sailed our own race. I am very happy to say it worked out nicely — everybody did a tremendous job.”

Nearly four hours after 11th Hour Racing Team won the leg, Team Holcim-PRB took a hard-earned second place finish, holding off Team Malizia who finished just five minutes behind.

“I think we’ve been sailing fast and as well as the others,” Holcim skipper Kevin Escoffier said. “We had a few issues — at the beginning we had to earn some trust in our [new] mast and then we broke the 24-hour record, but it wasn’t quite enough.

“The new IMOCAs are quite extreme — fast but not very comfortable. I can tell you that doing 640 miles in 24 hours is definitely not comfortable! But by finishing in second place, we still have it in our hands to win The Ocean Race.”

For Team Malizia, the third-place finish drops them further behind than they would like on the overall leaderboard, but co-skipper Will Harris was defiant and confident when asked if they could still win the race.

“Of course we can. For sure, definitely. Anything can happen in this race. You have to keep believing all the way to the finish…there is plenty to fight for still,” he said.

“We came so close to catching up to Holcim-PRB at the end there. Unfortunately we didn’t quite get the result that we wanted. We really wanted to get a few more points than that.”

Biotherm remains on the race course, nearing the top of Scotland, and with over 750 nautical miles to go to the finish. The team is sailing slowly, protecting the mast, and won’t be in Aarhus until the end of the week.

Leg Five Rankings at 1600 UTC, 29 May

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team, finished on 29/05/2023 at 02:56:49 UTC
  2. Team Holcim-PRB, finished on 29/05/2023 at 07:22:03 UTC
  3. Team Malizia, finished on 29/05/2023 at 07:27:50 UTC
  4. Biotherm, distance to finish, 723.9 miles

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race
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Change may be coming to The Ocean Race. Since the opening leg from Alicante to Cabo Verde, skipper Kevin Escoffier and his rotating cast of characters on Team Holcim-PRB have been firmly positioned at the top of the IMOCAs’ overall race leaderboard.

Now, with just over 250 miles left to the Leg 5 finish line in Aarhus, it is Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team that is keeping the pressure on, racing at eye-watering speeds towards the end of the leg.

A win here — on this double-points scoring leg — would be the second consecutive leg victory for the American-flagged team and would vault the pre-race favourite to the top of the overall race leaderboard.

But it is not over yet. At 1600 UTC on Sunday, the leader had 175 miles to sail and a 26-mile lead to protect. The fast downwind conditions will require some manoeuvring and there are a handful of traffic separation zones — exclusion zones — to navigate.

And if that wasn’t enough, Team Malizia, fresh off their record-breaking run, is lurking just over 40 miles back in third place.

The ETA for the winning boat is after 0430 local time in Aarhus (0230 GMT) in the early hours of Monday morning. Catch the arrival live on

Meanwhile, Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm is having a leg the team would rather forget. Overnight they broke the port shroud, but fortunately the crew are all safe and the team was able to ensure the stability of the mast, though the boat is now sailing more slowly towards Aarhus, well off the pace.

Leg Five Rankings at 1600 UTC, 28 May

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 175.8 miles
  2. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 26.3 miles
  3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 41.5 miles
  4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 723.7 miles

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race
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Records are being set and then broken again on Leg 5 of The Ocean Race 2022-23.

First it was 11th Hour Racing Team, powering to a new standard only to be eclipsed a short time later by Team Holcim-PRB, who appeared to have secured not only a new race record but the outright monohull record for distance covered in 24 hours.

Enter Team Malizia. The trailing boat of the leading trio was the last to nose into the favourable conditions for breaking records: downwind reaching in 25 knots and relatively flat water. Simply ideal for the latest generation IMOCAs.

But if the Malizians had a later start, their endgame was brilliant. On Friday night, near 2220 UTC, the team edged past the mark set by Team Holcim-PRB, and narrowly established the new standard — 641.13 nautical miles covered in 24 hours.

The data will need to ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council to become official, but it is well past the previous mark of 618.01 miles set by the 100-foot maxi yacht Comanche in 2015.

“Congrats to all the team; it feels a little bit unbelievable and still like everyone is hesitant to celebrate but we are super happy and have only good vibes,” said Team Malizia skipper Boris Herrmann.

“It’s great to see that the boat can do so well. We had exceptional conditions with a flat sea, the wind steady from the right direction, the right angle for such a long time… Sometimes, the waves got a little bit shorter and we would slow down to 18 knots and get a bit stuck in the sea. Most of the time the boat would pass the sea perfectly and fly at 27 to 34 knots; it felt really relaxed.

“In a way, it didn’t feel like pushing and we didn’t think we would be able to break the record, so we were quite relaxed most of the time except in the three last hours where the excitement of maybe breaking the record built up.

“And then there was an epic, funny, exciting moment, such a good team spirit and thanks to all the team here and on land and our partners that have made this possible and have built this amazing boat, I am super proud of everyone and Malizia - Seaexplorer.”

The fast pace has also brought the Malizians right back into the race for honours into Aarhus, now trailing the leading 11th Hour Racing Team by just 25 miles. Team Holcim-PRB is squeezed in the middle, just 10 miles back.

The leading pack are now (at 1700 UTC, Saturday) racing off the northern mainland of Scotland, and about to make their turn to the east around towards Denmark. With the blistering pace of the last 48 hours, the ETA into Aarhus has moved up to as early as midnight on Sunday night (28 May).

Elsewhere, the fourth boat in the fleet, Biotherm, continues its private race, having fallen into a different weather pattern. Skipper Paul Meilhat and his team are in good spirits, but over a full day behind the leaders.

Leg Five Rankings at 1700 UTC, 27 May

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 600.6 miles
  2. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 19.3 miles
  3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 24.9 miles
  4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 602.6 miles

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race
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