Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: VO65

The last day of racing in this 14th edition of The Ocean Race took place at the Grand Finale in Genoa on Saturday afternoon (1 July).

Sunny skies, very light and shifty winds and enthusiastic crowds on shore and on the water were the order of the day as this six-month round-the-world odyssey came to a close.

It was a day of celebration as well as competition with the afternoon and evening set aside for awards night and prize-giving ceremonies.

11th Hour Racing Team skipper Charlie Enright was delighted to be able to deliver a race win after all the effort it had taken to get his IMOCA Mãlama repaired after it was hit by GUYOT environnement - Team Europe soon after the start of Leg 7 in The Hague.

“Our shore crew worked night and day for three days straight to be able to get us back on the water and able to take part in this Grand Finale In-Port Race,” he said.

“To be able to compete — and win the race today in Genova — we couldn’t ask for a better way to complete our lap of the planet and to show our thanks to everyone who has supported our campaign for the past few years.”

The race win ensured 11th Hour Racing Team would take the double victory — a win in the offshore round-the-world race as well as the In-Port Race Series.

There was very little wind for the scheduled start of the IMOCA In-Port Race and after a brief delay, the start got away at 1415 hours local time.

All four boats were late to the start, but Team Malizia was first to cross the line and take the early lead in just three knots of wind.

Team Holcim-PRB started further to windward and seemed well placed initially. But as the fickle breeze shifted further to the right, the Swiss boat looked increasingly stranded. After poor starts from Biotherm and 11th Hour Racing Team, the French and American teams started to close the gap on the early leader, Team Malizia.

By Mark 1, Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm had closed the gap on the lead and was overlapped with Boris Herrmann’s boat. The black German boat managed to hold on to the lead but now the chase was on, with Biotherm in hot pursuit and Charlie Enright’s crew on 11th Hour Racing Team not far back in third. Benjamin Schwartz and Team Holcim-PRB were struggling to stay in touch with their rivals, the green boat a long way back in fourth place.

Around Mark 2, Malizia rounded up on to the breeze and were on port tack upwind. Biotherm tacked away from the leader to create a split and see if the French boat could find anything better than the Germans.

Eventually the Germans tacked too and on the next cross, Meilhat had closed distance on Herrmann. However, Germany was still in the lead as the fleet drifted upwind, battling to keep the boats moving in almost no breeze.

Meanwhile, 11th Hour Racing Team decided to keep things simple, leaving the tacking duel to the front two while Enright kept his boat tracking on port tack on the city side of the race course. Hooking into more breeze on their side of the course, it looked like the Americans would move into the lead as their boat speed touched six knots, their rivals still looking slow further out to sea.

With the wind showing little sign of improving, the race was shortened at Mark 3. Now the outcome of the race would be decided on a port-starboard convergence between the Germans and the Americans to see who would cross ahead.

In the end, it was 11th Hour Racing Team who eased across the finishing line to steal the race win from Team Malizia, who had led for so long but had to settle for second. Biotherm held on for third place, which was good enough to lift the French to third overall ahead of Team Holcim-PRB in the In-Port Series.

The Ocean Race In-Port Series Final Leaderboard (IMOCA):

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team - 29 points
  2. Team Malizia - 25 points
  3. Biotherm - 19 points
  4. Team Holcim-PRB - 17 points
  5. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe - 10 points

It was one last hurrah for Team JAJO with their win in the VO65 In-Port Race in Genoa on Saturday 1 July | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceIt was one last hurrah for Team JAJO with their win in the VO65 In-Port Race in Genoa on Saturday 1 July | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

The VO65s took to the race course first on this last day of The Grand Finale in Genova, in light winds of three to six knots.

As the seconds counted down to the start, all five teams were looking late on their time-on-distance judgement. Bearing in mind how an extra metre at the start can turn into hundreds of metres of advantage further along the race track, it was a missed opportunity for everyone.

Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team (DEN/POR) was looking in a solid and safe position at the windward end of the line and accelerated up to speed nicely.

WindWhisper Racing Team (POL) has tended to dominate the pin end of the line but this time skipper Pablo Arrarte was beaten to the punch by Team JAJO (NED). Jelmer van Beek looked vulnerable initially, but he had the advantage of being the most leeward boat.

This enabled van Beek to turn away from the breeze by an extra couple of degrees, breathing extra power into the sails on a day when every ounce of additional oomph was vital.

Team JAJO began to stretch its early advantage, as WindWhisper Racing Team started to slip into the backwash of the big VO65 rig ahead of them.

The Dutch led around the first mark, followed by Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team whose windward start had served Roberto Bermúdez de Castro and his crew well. Next around were Austrian Ocean Racing/Team Genova but finding a better puff of wind behind them were Viva México who capitalised on a deeper downwind angle to get inside rights at the next turning mark.

Erik Brockmann’s team gybed the Mexican boat nicely on the inside of Gerwin Jansen and the Austrians and México sneaked into third place as they set out on the third leg of the course.

Meanwhile, WindWhisper had struggled to find clear air on the first leg out of the start, and really struggled to get around the first mark. The Polish team furled its headsail as it luffed up towards the breeze in a desperate bid to avoid hitting the mark. Arrarte and company did indeed avoid the mark but now had to play catch-up. There was a slim possibility of the dominant Polish team losing their In-Port Race crown to Team JAJO if Arrarte failed to finish inside the time limit.

With the wind looking unlikely to improve and, if anything, get even lighter, the race committee shortened the race course after 30 minutes of competition. Team JAJO finished exactly 60 seconds ahead of Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, with the Mexicans third, Austria fourth and WindWhisper bringing up the rear but well inside the time limit.

This means WindWhisper narrowly retains the top of the In-Port leaderboard despite Team JAJO closing the points gap.

Jelmer van Beek was rightly happy with Team JAJO’s performance which all stemmed from that accurately executed start at the pin end of the line: “A light and tricky day and not much breeze, but we had a really good start. They say you’re only as good as your last race, and we won the last race! It’s nice to finish like this. Time for a holiday now but I love this race, it was a great experience.”

Paolo Mirpuri, founder of the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, was on board his VO65 for the race and enjoyed the experience: “We had a very good start, the teamwork went well. We managed to keep it close and very happy to get second place today.”

Erik Brockmann was delighted to get another podium finish for Team México in Genova: “Even though it was light it’s always intense. We managed to maintain our position and to overtake a boat and got another podium in Genova. Couldn’t be happier to finish The Ocean Race like this.”

The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint In-Port Series Final Leaderboard:

  1. WindWhisper Racing Team - 19 points
  2. Team JAJO - 17 points
  3. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team - 12 points
  4. Viva México - 10 points
  5. Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova - 8 points
  6. Ambersail 2 - 0 points
Published in Ocean Race
Tagged under

Team Malizia found a way to grab a last-minute win in Leg 7 of The Ocean Race 2022-23, saving the best for last.

On the waters off the finish port of Genoa, skipper Boris Herrmann and his crew boldly grabbed the leg lead in extremely light and variable conditions at 0600 UTC on Tuesday morning (27 June), by virtue of heading close to shore and picking up a gentle breeze by the land.

This allowed them to ease past Team Holcim-PRB — who had led for the majority of the leg from The Hague to Genoa — as well as Biotherm, and secure their second leg win in The Ocean Race.

“I’m very happy and very proud of this team. It’s been a privilege to work with all of them,” said Herrmann, reflecting on the end of his round-the-world race. “We have the most sailors who completed the full race and Rosie [Rosalin Kuiper] is the only female to do the whole lap of the planet.”

“It’s incredible to finish the leg to Genoa in first place,” said Kuiper. “I still can’t believe it. We have done a lap around the world, pushing ourselves day in and day out and to finish like this is so special… It’s been a crazy adventure and we had such a good time. We will miss each other and miss being out at sea together.”

Following the finish of Malizia, the wind nearly died completely, leaving Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm and Benjamin Schwartz and his Holcim-PRB crew to play a very downspeed chess match to get to the finish line.

At the end, it was Biotherm who were able to glide across in second place on Leg 7, leaving Team Holcim-PRB to claim third place in the IMOCA fleet — an unfortunate result after leading for so much of the leg.

“It was a really close race even if only with three boats,” said Meilhat once his team reached the dock. “Congratulations to Malizia — they took a risk during the night and it worked. We knew from the start that it would all come down to the last moments in front of Genova and this is how it happened.”

On the other hand, third place was a disappointment for Team Holcim-PRB. “It could have been better as unfortunately we are finishing third today,” Schwartz said on final approach to the line. “Biotherm and Malizia, we couldn’t cover them at one point and they managed to escape and here we are after leading the race for the last 12 days and finishing in the last position of the group, so it’s a bit disappointing. But we are happy to be here in Genova and it was a great leg, we really enjoyed it, so we have to remember this too.”

The two other IMOCA teams in the fleet, 11th Hour Racing Team and GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, were forced to retire from racing shortly after the start, following a collision.

And this means the overall leaderboard for the IMOCA fleet in The Ocean Race remains provisional, awaiting the Request for Redress that has been filed by 11th Hour Racing Team after being hit just after the start by GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, who acknowledged responsibility for the incident.

The World Sailing International Jury will hear the eedress request on Thursday (29 June). With today’s results, Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team is just one point behind Team Holcim-PRB, so any award of redress of one point or more will give the team overall victory in The Ocean Race.

In the VO65 fleet, the first boat to finish in Genoa on Tuesday — just minutes ahead of Malizia — was Team JAJO, with skipper Jelmer van Beek sliding home just over 24 hours after WindWhisper Racing Team won the VO65 Sprint Cup.

“We always said this leg was going to come down to the very end, the last night, and I’m so proud of the team for pulling it off because every day was a battle,” Van Beek said. “In the end we were on the right side of it. We’re really happy!”

The second-place finish into Genoa ensures Team JAJO has locked up second place in the VO65 Sprint leaderboard.

Viva México then had their best result of the VO65 Sprint, a third-place podium finish that was a long time coming, with the dying breeze prolonging their day.

“It’s been an amazing leg for Viva México,” said skipper Erik Brockmann. “We are happy with a podium finish and to be in Genova is an amazing feeling.”

Behind them, the light conditions also enveloped Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova and Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team — both boats were declared as having reached the finish line by the race management team some two hours later, at 1530 and 1545 UTC respectively.

Rankings at 1700 UTC, 27 June


  1. Team Malizia, finished at 11:17:51 UTC
  2. Biotherm, finished at 12:54:23 UTC
  3. Team Holcim-PRB, finished at 13:31:49 UTC


  1. WindWhisper Racing, finished on 26 June at 10:27:52 UTC
  2. Team JAJO, finished at 10:50:43 UTC
  3. Viva México, finished at 13:35:39 UTC
  4. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, finished at 15:30:00 UTC
  5. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, finished at 15:45:00 UTC

Follow both fleets’ progress via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race

WindWhisper Racing Team won the final leg of The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint into Genoa on Monday morning (26 June), beating the rest of the fleet by a massive margin.

The Polish boat crossed the finish line in just six knots of breeze at 10:27:52 UTC with a leg time of 10 days, 23 hours, 17 minutes and 52 seconds.

With the rest of the fleet still to cover some 80-plus nautical miles in very light winds on Monday afternoon, WindWhisper could win the leg from The Hague to Genoa by more than 18 hours.

With skipper Pablo Arrarte (ESP) unable to take part in the final leg, it was left to previous race winner Daryl Wislang (NZL) to take up the skipper’s role. “It’s an amazing feeling to arrive here, happy to be part of the team, and I was lucky enough to take the handlebars for the last leg,” he said.

Even though it always looked like a healthy lead entering the Mediterranean, the fickle nature of the breeze meant Wislang and the crew were never able to rest on their laurels.

“The biggest challenge is trying to cover someone that far behind because the other boats were in completely different weather,” the skipper said. “Ultimately we decided we couldn’t cover them and chose to sail the fastest way we could to the finish. There was no option to get back to the coast with the other guys.”

The biggest responsibility for such big decisions always rests with the navigator, so Aksel Magdahl (NOR) rightly earns a lot of credit for his brave choices on the race course.

“We had a tricky choice to make in the Mediterranean because the other boats were more than 100 miles behind,” said Magdahl, who chose to keep on looking forwards rather than play a more traditional, defensive game of covering the opposition. “We decided to go towards the coast of Algeria to take the fastest route. We thought the other option to cover the other boats would be slow for us. So we went for what we thought was our fastest option and it worked out well for us.”

Magdahl also wins the navigator’s award, the Vasco da Gama Mirpuri Foundation Prize for first boat to pass the line of 37 degrees North latitude. That was largely down to a very good call to break away from the fleet in the English Channel, one which absent skipper Pablo Arrarte had been watching with great interest from ashore.

“The guys made a big strategy call. The fleet was in light pressure and the big breeze was coming, and they stayed further north and the big pressure reached them first. That was the important moment to break away from the fleet.”

From there the team never looked back, leading into the Strait of Gibraltar by a healthy margin.

For Phil Harmer (AUS), today’s victory is extra special as it happens on his 44th birthday. The two-time winner of the race was pleased to be back on board the VO65 and to have come through the Strait of Gibraltar at night, thereby avoiding the orca whales that paid a little bit too much attention to some of the other VO65s.

“I think the orcas were asleep when we went through the strait,” he laughed. “We went through in stealth mode, managed to give them the slip, so we were lucky to get through unscathed.”

Crew member Liz Wardley has a special connection with this particular VO65, having led the five-month refit of the boat that she had already managed in its previous guise as Team AkzoNobel.

“It feels amazing to be here now,” she said. “We had such a big lead into the Med and there was always the option that the others could catch us, so that was stressful. We did Leg 1 well, we did Leg 6 well, and now to win Leg 7 by more than a hundred miles is pretty cool. And finished in front of the IMOCAs, too, so a double win.”

While Pablo Arrarte and Daryl Wislang’s WindWhisper Racing Team are enjoying some Genova hospitality after being the first arrival and winning The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint, seven boats remain at sea, fighting through light winds to get to the finish.

In the IMOCA class, it’s Team Holcim-PRB at the head of the fleet. After enjoying some strong outflow winds off the coast of France overnight, the team is now back in the slow lane, in winds near five knots, with just under 90 miles to go to the finish line.

“Last night we had very welcome wind — 20-25 knots of wind — and this was wonderful as the boat loves wind and we love the boat when it is flying so we were happy,” said Ambrogio Beccaria, the Italian sailor on the Holcim-PRB boat, overnight. “And we still have some good comfort on board, it’s steady and nice sailing.”

Looking ahead, there are still some shifts and changes to navigate before the finish.

“We are now heading north to the next transition,” said Holcim skipper Ben Schwartz early on Monday afternoon, joking that they are placing bets on the arrival time on board. “Ahead of us is a transition to a southwesterly wind, and this is the wind that could bring us to Genova…hopefully.”

Biotherm, just behind, confirms it’s not going to be straightforward.

“Still long to reach Genova…” said Paul Meilhat. “Really complicated from here until the finish line. Probably there will be a convergence of the fleet and then it might open up, some might choose the coast, some offshore. Many possibilities but we will make the final choice tonight.”

Team Malizia also enjoyed the breezy conditions last night. “It’s so good,” said Will Harris. “We’re doing about six- times the speed [30 knots] we’ve done for most of this leg!”

For the VO65s, the fight now is for second place on Stage 3 and on the overall ranking for the VO65 Sprint. Team JAJO is two points clear of Austrian Ocean Racing - Team Genova on the overall leaderboard. But with the four VO65s spread out over 20-odd miles, it’s a wide open race still.

“The game is to stay focussed on all the little details,” said JAJO skipper Jelmer van Beek.

“I think we are all going to be together again,” said Gonzalo Infante, the navigator on Viva México. “And we just need to work out how to escape!”

Given the forecast, the ETA for the remaining boats is very uncertain, but the best estimate remains Tuesday morning (27 June) local time.

Rankings at 1600 UTC, 26 June


  1. Team Holcim-PRB, 86.6 miles to finish
  2. Biotherm, 4.7 miles to leader

  3. Team Malizia, 5.4 miles to leader


  1. WindWhisper Racing, finished at 10:27:52 UTC
  2. Viva México, 87.6 miles to finish
  3. Team JAJO, 1.8 miles to leader
  4. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, 2.7 miles to leader
  5. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 22.5 miles to leader

Follow both fleets’ progress via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race

If there wasn’t already enough urgency to get to Genoa quickly, Ambrogio Beccaria is more desperate than ever. Not only is the Italian crewman on Team Holcim-PRB keen to reach his home country as soon as possible, vital provisions on the IMOCA are running very low. “Dude, there is no more Nutella,” he complains to colleague Yoann Richomme. “The others have eaten it all.”

With just five souls on board, the Nutella thief shouldn’t be too difficult to unmask. But then there is the small matter of maintaining focus to stay ahead of their rivals in The Ocean Race, which is proving anything but straightforward in a trickier-than-usual Mediterranean Sea.

Late on Friday night (23 June), skipper Benjamin Schwartz took Holcim-PRB on a trip over to the Algerian coastline in search of some night-time trickle of breeze from the top of the African continent. Meanwhile, Biotherm and Team Malizia decided to stay in European waters as they worked their way up the Spanish coast.

“Well we weren’t expecting our two colleagues to choose a different route than us,” Schwartz said. “They are doing a coastal route along the Spanish coast whereas we have decided to go to Algeria. I don’t know what they saw that we haven’t seen that would make us go towards land, so now we don’t have a choice anyway.”

As it turned out, any concerns about allowing a big split to develop didn’t prove too dangerous. Holcim-PRB bounced off the Algerian coast and tacked back over towards Spain and reconverged ahead of their rivals. Holcim-PRB crew Annemieke Bes commented: “We were happy with the strategy in the end. We were stressed as there was a huge lateral gap. Anyway, it was good to try to catch the thermal winds a bit earlier.”

While not as extreme as WindWhisper Racing Team’s breakaway at the front of the VO65 fleet, there are similarities in the way the leaders of the respective fleets have ploughed their own route out to the east.

But as WindWhisper’s navigator Aksel Magdahl explained, it didn’t feel like they had another option at the time: “We sailed east towards the coast of Algeria, and there was a big split. We sailed east of Mallorca, the other boats sailed west. We thought if we had stayed west we’d stop in no wind and they would catch us up. It felt there was no other option than to go east, even if it’s uncomfortable to do it.”

The pack that stayed close to the Spanish coast got so close to Alicante earlier this weekend that you might have started to wonder if the sailors were thinking the race was due to finish in the same place it started six months earlier. But no, the slow boat race continued past The Ocean Race HQ further up the Iberian coast, going past Barcelona and towards the south of France.

The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup Stage 3, Day 9 (Saturday 24 June) onboard with WindWhisper Racing Team | Credit: Tomasz Piotrowski/WindWhisper Racing Team/The Ocean RaceThe Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup Stage 3, Day 9 (Saturday 24 June) onboard with WindWhisper Racing Team | Credit: Tomasz Piotrowski/WindWhisper Racing Team/The Ocean Race

None of it is easy sailing, not even for an old veteran like Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermúdez de Castro, the skipper on VO65 Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team. “Sailing through this Mediterranean short wave period, the boat is jumping too much, but we’re pushing really hard with the Mexicans and Austrians and the IMOCA fleet, tacking upwind,” he said.

“It’s interesting to see Windwhisper taking the option to go more east, go outside the Balearic Islands. It will be interesting to see what happens. There’s still a lot of difficult weather before arriving to Genova. The Mediterranean is always tricky, but this time even more than usual.”

With the forecast for light and variable winds between where the fleets are and Genoa, the ETAs still have a high degree of uncertainty. But WindWhisper is expected on Monday 26 June, with the remaining race boats finishing on Tuesday 27 June.

Rankings at 1600 UTC, 25 June


  1. Team Holcim-PRB, 316.5 miles to finish
  2. Biotherm, 10.9 miles to leader

  3. Team Malizia, 19.6 miles to leader


  1. WindWhisper Racing, 186.7 miles to finish
  2. Viva México, 142.3 miles to leader
  3. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, 144.6 miles to leader
  4. Team JAJO, 148.6 miles to leader
  5. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 156.1 miles to leader

Follow both fleets’ progress via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race

Team Holcim-PRB made a break for the Algerian coast overnight on Friday (23 June), leaving the close-quarters match racing they’d been having with Biotherm and Team Malizia since before Gibraltar.

At one point, they had gained nearly 100 miles of separation to the south — risky business in the light, shifting winds.

But surprisingly, when the boats converged on Saturday morning (24 June) off the Spanish coast, not too much had changed. Although Holcim-PRB had made a net gain of about five or six miles — important when the margins are so thin — it seems like scant reward for taking such a big risk.

By returning to the Spanish coast (not far off The Ocean Race start port of Alicante, fully completing the circumnavigation in the process!) skipper Benjamin Schwartz has consolidated what little gain he’d made and secured a more powerful protective position between Biotherm, Malizia and the finish in Genoa.

But as of Saturday evening that lead is being eroded, with the chasing boats within four (Biotherm) and seven (Malizia) miles respectively.

“We’re heading up the Spanish coast, less than 600 miles to go to the finish now,” said Alan Roberts from on board Biotherm on Saturday morning. “In theory we could do that distance in one day on an IMOCA. More likely it’s going to take us three! It’s not very fast sailing. Quite complex with a few more transitions between now and the finish.

“We’ve got Malizia just a few miles behind and to leeward of us. Team Holcim-PRB is to weather and forward of us. Last night they hitched out to the right pretty hard, sailing quick, and they’ve come back ahead of us, but probably not as far as they should have been…an interesting option from them…”

In the VO65 fleet, WindWhisper Racing Team continues to sail its own race towards the Grand Finale in Genoa, with a nice lead over all of the chasers.

Skipper Daryl Wislang’s team is nearly 175 miles to the east of the rest of the fleet with the Balearic Islands to port, racing in very different conditions to the others. And this is just about the only risk for WindWhisper — in these light, changeable conditions, they have to sail their own race and be confident they can get to Genoa faster.

When they arrive, the Grand Finale is fully prepared to offer some top Italian hospitality. Ocean Live Park in Genoa had a soft opening ceremony on Saturday morning before the official opening on Sunday (25 June).

Rankings at 1900 UTC, 24 June


  1. Team Holcim-PRB, 456.3 miles to finish
  2. Biotherm, 3.7 miles to leader

  3. Team Malizia, 7 miles to leader


  1. WindWhisper Racing, 352.1 miles to finish
  2. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, 132.1 miles to leader
  3. Team JAJO, 136.5 miles to leader
  4. Viva México, 147.1 miles to leader
  5. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 162.7 miles to leader

Follow both fleets’ progress via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race

It’s been a profitable 24 hours for Poland’s WindWhisper Racing Team, which has escaped from the rest of the boats racing towards the Grand Finale of The Ocean Race 2022-23 in Genoa and stretched out to a lead of over 150 nautical miles over its nearest pursuers in the VO65 fleet.

In the short term, however, the forecast isn’t in the team’s favour. The wind was expected to ease dramatically in the western Mediterranean over the course of Thursday (22 June) before shifting from the westerly that has pushed them into the Med to an east-northeasterly that they’ll need to fight to make progress toward Italy.

The calm patch will apply to the chasing boats as well, who may need to battle this transition along with unfavourable tidal current in the Strait of Gibraltar depending on their arrival. And a later arrival could mean tacking into a building headwind.

On the approach to Gibraltar, Team Holcim-PRB is leading the IMOCAs, but at 1800 UTC was in danger of losing miles to both Biotherm — just 2.4 nautical miles astern — and Team Malizia.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to catch up to the others,” said Malizia’s Will Harris looking ahead at the transition. “There will be a light wind area and maybe a chance for us to play a card and gain some miles if we find better wind. We’ll see what we find.”

The light and somewhat fickle winds are taking a toll on the crews. On the VO65 Team JAJO, currently battling with Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team and Viva México for second position in the VO65 Sprint, the night showed a loss, in very close-quarters racing.

“It’s been very painful,” admitted JAJO’s Jorden van Rooijen. “On the way to Gibraltar, we’ve been battling Mirpuri/Trifork all night. We had them seven miles behind us and now they just got a little bit of pressure, overtook us, a super-close battle, one boat length apart, and now they’re just in front of us.. So we have to get them back!”

That was before JAJO’s encounter with the one of the area’s now infamous orcas, responsible for a spate of attacks on boats since spring. Thankfully boat and crew — and orca — are unharmed.

Rankings at 1800 UTC, 22 June


  1. Team Holcim-PRB, 854.8 miles to finish
  2. Biotherm, 2.4 miles to leader

  3. Team Malizia, 14.6 miles to leader


  1. WindWhisper Racing, 706.6 miles to finish
  2. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, 145 miles to leader
  3. Team JAJO, 145.8 miles to leader
  4. Viva México, 146.7 miles to leader
  5. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 157.8 miles to leader

Follow both fleets’ progress via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race

As skipper Daryl Wislang pushed his WindWhisper Racing Team across the line of 37 degrees north latitude at 1004 UTC on Wednesday morning (21 June), his team prepared to turn east towards the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea.

By crossing this 37-degree latitude at the head of both fleets, Wislang’s team wins the Vasco da Gama Mirpuri Foundation Prize, celebrating the heritage of the great navigators of The Ocean Race. In this case, WindWhisper Racing Team navigator Aksel Magdahl will be given the award in Genoa.

While this milestone is in their wake, the team still has over 1,000 nautical miles to run to the finish line and very challenging, light conditions ahead.

However, they have built a nice margin and should be in good shape for the approach to the Mediterranean Sea with the four chasing boats in the VO65 class all at least 117 miles back as of Wednesday evening.

In the IMOCA fleet, Team Holcim-PRB is working hard to hold onto its lead as both Biotherm and Team Malizia keep nibbling at their advantage.

Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm is now within six miles, and Team Malizia has closed up as well, sitting some 40 miles behind.

The IMOCAs, starting behind the VO65s, are just starting to catch the trailing boats in the 65 fleet as the slow conditions haven’t allowed the best performance from these foiling marvels.

“Normally we have some good wind off the coast of Portugal, but now we don’t have wind…only about eight knots,” said Biotherm’s Mariana Lobato, the Portuguese sailor on the boat who was hoping for more exciting conditions off her home coastline. “Hopefully it comes soon so we can make it downwind, and fast, and have some fun!”

“It hasn’t been windy for very much time and now we’re back to the J0, the big headsail, in very light winds,” said Biotherm skipper Paul Meilhat.

“We’re trying to stay in a corridor with the maximum wind we can get,” said Nico Lunven on Team Malizia as his team put in a gybe overnight. “It’s still OK, the spinnaker is still flying… [On Wednesday] we should have more wind close to the shore with the sea breeze effect.”

Despite the light conditions, the Strait of Gibraltar passage is expected on Thursday (22 June) — proof that progress is being made, albeit slower than the teams would like.

Rankings at 1800 UTC, 21 June


  1. Team Holcim-PRB, 1,092.9 miles to finish
  2. Biotherm, 5.6 miles to leader

  3. Team Malizia, 40.6 miles to leader


  1. WindWhisper Racing, 927.4 miles to finish
  2. Team JAJO, 117.3 miles to leader
  3. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, 119.6 miles to leader
  4. Viva México, 153.3 miles to leader
  5. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 166.4 miles to leader

Follow both fleets’ progress via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race

Nobody will be breaking any records on Tuesday (20 June) in The Ocean Race. Light winds mean speeds are still modest for both IMOCA and VO65 fleets as they slide down to the south along the west coast of the Iberian peninsula.

“It would be nice to be going faster,” said Team Malizia’s Will Harris, as his team has taken advantage of the lighter winds ahead to claw a few miles back on Team Holcim-PRB and Biotherm.

“It’s a long way to Genova. It’s not a leg to be underestimated. I think anything could happen right up to the finish. There will be lots of opportunities to catch up…

“It’s a lot more tactical in these conditions. You still have to sail the boat as fast as possible and remember that everyone is dealing with the same conditions. It’s about how you overcome it.”

In the VO65 fleet, it’s WindWhisper Racing Team who have done some very good work to maintain a lead of 75 miles (as of Tuesday evening) over the next four boats, all of whom are grouped together in a chasing pack separated by just 25 miles.

“Last night was quite difficult. The wind was up and down and left and right, so it was hard work for the crew to keep the speed up,” said Gerwin Jansen from Austrian Ocean Racing - Team Genova. “Today we expect to be sailing close to the Spanish and Portuguese coasts and doing a lot of gybing to stay in the wind.”

The forecast is for the generally light conditions to continue although from a favourable north-northwesterly direction until the boats are through the Strait of Gibraltar on Thursday (22 June).

And on Wednesday (21 June) the first boat is expected pass the Vasco da Gama Mirpuri Foundation latitude — 37 degrees north — earning a prize that will be awarded to the team’s navigator in Genoa.

Rankings at 1800 UTC, 20 June


  1. Team Holcim-PRB, 1,308.6 miles to finish
  2. Biotherm, 8.1 miles to leader

  3. Team Malizia, 27.5 miles to finish


  1. WindWhisper Racing, 1,184.4 miles to finish
  2. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, 75.2 miles to leader
  3. Team JAJO, 78.2 miles to leader
  4. Viva México, 92.7 miles to leader
  5. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 100.8 miles to leader

Follow both fleets’ progress via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race

The VO65s are still leading the charge south, towards Cape Finisterre and the coast of Portugal. But at the moment, ‘charge’ should be considered a generous description.

Boat speeds are often under 10 knots and the choice for the decision-makers on board is bleak — push south into lighter winds, or further west, away from the target.

“It’s looking very quiet, not so much wind…very slow,” was the succint summary from Nico Lunven on Team Maliza.

Elsewhere, Yoann Richomme, leading the navigation duties on the IMOCA furthest to the south — Team Holcim-PRB — offered up a more vivid description, even if the ultimate conclusion is the same.

“We are in the middle of the Bay of Biscay, going west — west! — to get away from some light winds between France and Spain,” he explained on Monday’s (19 June) boat feed. “Then we are going to try to go down south along the coast of Portugal. it will be light this afternoon, then a little bit windier as we turn south to go down but then Portugal looks very, very light.

“Right now we’re slow. It’s not looking good. Biotherm is about 55 miles north but we could lose quite a bit today I reckon. We have a bit of an advantage but I think the next hours and days will be very tricky.”

As Richomme predicted, that hard-won early advantage is now being eroded by both Biotherm and Team Malizia, as both boats are further west and holding onto the light winds a little bit longer.

The story is similar no matter which of the five VO65s or three IMOCAs you are racing on in this final leg of The Ocean Race. It’s a challenge to pick a route south that has enough wind to keep the boat moving consistently. Today, gambling on a spot further west seems to be paying.

“We chose to go quite far west to chase the remains of a low-pressure system,” said Aksel Magdahl, navigator on WindWhisper Racing Team, the leading team in the VO65 Sprint. “Fortunately, the fleet has more or less followed us which makes it more straighforward.”

As the boats press further south, they will eventually come to the southwestern tip of Portugal before making a left turn and heading towards Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea.

Extending off the tip of Portugal, along 37 degrees of north latitude, is the scoring line for the Vasco da Gama Mirpuri Foundation Prize which will be awarded to the first navigator in either class to cross this latitude. No scoring points are assigned here, but a prize will be presented in Genoa during the Grand Finale awards night.

Meanwhile, 11th Hour Racing Team is making good progress on its ‘race within a race’ to Genoa. After leaving The Hague on Sunday evening, the team is determined to arrive to Italy in time to participate in the In-Port Race.

“We are very tight on time but we will do everything we can to get to Genova to join the rest of the fleet for the Grand Finale of The Ocean Race,” said skipper Charlie Enright as his team left the dock on Sunday (18 June).

“We want to be there in time for the start of the In-Port Race on July 1, to give us the opportunity to compete in, and win, the In-Port Race Series. It’s a race within a race, and the countdown is now on.”

Rankings at 1600 UTC, 19 June


  1. Team Holcim-PRB, 1,600.8 miles to finish
  2. Biotherm, 31.8 miles to leader

  3. Team Malizia, 49.3 miles to finish


  1. WindWhisper Racing, 1,453.1 miles to finish
  2. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, 68.3 miles to leader
  3. Team JAJO, 70.1 miles to leader
  4. Viva México, 87.3 miles to leader
  5. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 69.7 miles to leader

Follow both fleets’ progress via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race

Both the IMOCA and VO65 fleets in The Ocean Race are finally free of the English Channel and into the more open waters of the Bay of Biscay/Celtic Sea/North Atlantic on Sunday (18 June).

The mission now is to leave the Bay of Biscay to port and run down the west coasts of Spain and Portugal before turning into the Mediterranean.

After a couple of days of very light winds, Sunday morning (18 June) brought a light to moderate breeze — but it was a south-southwesterly, which is generally the direction of travel, meaning choices would need to be made. Further west there is likely to be more wind, but it comes at a cost of extra miles. This tactical choice over the next 24-48 hours will be one to watch.

“We lost a bit on Biotherm overnight, but still have a good lead at the moment…so far, so good,” said Benjamin Schwartz on IMOCA fleet leader Team Holcim-PRB. His team dropped just over 10 miles in the early hours of Sunday, but have managed to stabilise now and are set up directly west of Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm team, and nearly 50 miles ahead of Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia.

The VO65 fleet has pushed further west than the IMOCAs, especially the leader WindWhisper Racing Team which is earlier this morning was over 70 miles west of second-placed Mirpuri-Trifork and Team JAJO in third.

The challenge for WindWhisper skipper Daryl Wislang is to determine when there is enough west in the wind direction for them to tack and start making miles south. That time came at 0900 UTC and as of Sunday afternoon the team is making miles towards the goal.

“It’s definitely been a tricky time with very, very light winds,” confirmed Viva Mexico skipper Erik Brockmann, where his team is in a pack of four VO65s chasing the leader.

“The last days have seemed more like the doldrums with a little bit of everything mixed in. Now we finally have some breeze and have sailed all night and I think we are finally getting into the southerlies we have been expecting. Only WindWhisper has been able to get into the wind first [and get away] but we can see the others, so it should be a fun day today.”

Meanwhile, the two teams that returned to The Hague after the dramatic collision that marred the start of Leg 7 for the IMOCA fleet have given updates on their current status.

On Sunday morning, GUYOT environnement - Team Europe confirmed they would not be able to repair their boat in time to get to Genoa for the Grand Finale. Instead, the team has effected a temporary repair (no bowsprit) and will limp towards their home port of Les Sable d’Olonne where full repairs can be made.

“We wanted to finish this race and we put all our power towards that, but we try to go to Genova like this — no bowsprit, no downwind sails — we will arrive well after the stopover,” said skipper Benjamin Dutreux.

“We have spent the past six months with all the other teams. We have that link together now. There is no way we will miss the arrival of the boats in Genova. All of our team will be in Genova to welcome the boats. Whether our boat is there or not there changes nothing. This is a human story and we want to be there to share that with them.”

Dutreux repeated his regret for the incident and its impact on 11th Hour Racing Team and The Ocean Race.

Still in The Hague, Charlie Enright’s team is continuing to work around the clock on repairs to its boat with the goal of getting to Genoa for the Grand Finale.

“The time, the effort, the craftsmanship, the dedication is unbelievable,” Enright said dockside on Saturday afternoon (17 June) as he looked at the work happening on the boat. “I feel so lucky to have this level of dedication to the cause. When you get into situations like this you find out what you’re made of and I’m so proud of what we’ve seen so far.”

The team is expected to update on its plans to get to the Grand Finale in Genoa over the next 24 hours. Additionally, more information about the schedule for 11th Hour Racing Team’s Request for Redress with the World Sailing International Jury will be shared when it is available.

Rankings at 1400 UTC, 18 June


  1. Team Holcim-PRB, 1,693.9 miles to finish
  2. Biotherm, 20.3 miles to leader

  3. Team Malizia, 45.3 miles to finish


  1. WindWhisper Racing, 1,641.3 miles to finish
  2. Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team, 46.3 miles to leader
  3. Team JAJO, 52.2 miles to leader
  4. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 59.9 miles to leader
  5. Viva México, 61.1 miles to leader

Follow both fleets’ progress via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race
Page 1 of 4

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating