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The last time we saw the VO65 fleet in The Ocean Race was in January and the teams had just completed the opening stage of the VO65 Sprint, from Alicante in Spain to Cabo Verde.

The Polish-flagged WindWhisper Racing Team won the race south from the Mediterranean out to the Atlantic, with Team JAJO and Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova rounding out the podium.

Now the fleet is making its way north to Aarhus, Denmark in anticipation of meeting up once again with The Ocean Race ahead of the second stage of the VO65 Sprint.

The WindWhisper Racing Team is already in Aarhus, training ahead of the leg.

“We’re really looking forward to being back in the race from Aarhus onwards, especially after our excellent first stage from Alicante to Cabo Verde in January,” said WindWhisper Spanish skipper Pablo Arrarte.

“We are ready, the boat is ready. Our international crew has a strong Polish component and will have a few changes but the core will remain the same and we plan to have up to six sailors under 30 years old to give the youth a great opportunity to improve their skills in a truly professional environment.”

“Aarhus is a great place we know well and which always gives a special feeling, so we’re looking forward to coming back to Aarhus,” said Jelmer van Beek, skipper of Team JAJO. “It’s time for the VO65s to rejoin the race. For now we’re in second place, we’re happy with that. But the race is far from over, we’re only looking ahead. We will do everything we can to give the WindWhisper Racing Team a hard time and make it a tough race.”

“I am thrilled to be back in The Ocean Race again,” said Gerwin Jansen, skipper of Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova. “It was tough to see IMOCA boats racing in the Southern Ocean without us, but we used that time to work hard and improve our boat and sails. With these upgrades, we’re more competitive than ever and ready to hunt down the leaders. We’re excited for the challenge ahead.”

“We are looking forward to being back onboard Viva México for the start of stage two in the VO65 Sprint,” said Erik Brockmann, skipper of Viva México. “It felt like a long break, following the race from on shore, but now we are ready and excited to be back!

“The first stage of the race did not go as we would have liked but finishing and getting those two points really is giving us a chance now to fight for a podium finish which is our goal. We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone in Aarhus!”

The Ambersail team will not return for the final two stages of The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint, while the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team is in a new collaboration with Trifork for the final two stages of the event.

Race veteran Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermúdez de Castro from Spain will skipper the Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team.”I am really happy to be part of this great team, which has come together in a record time,” he said. “We are a mix of people who know each other from a long time ago along with a new generation of young sailors. We have a fantastic boat which is in really good shape. I really appreciate the owners for their efforts to put all this together. We are looking forward to great racing in the VO65 Sprint.”

The teams will assemble in Aarhus in the coming days ahead of the In-Port Race next Sunday 4 June, and then the VO65 fleet will race directly to The Hague (with no Kiel Fly-By) starting on Thursday 8 June. The last stage of the VO65 Sprint takes the fleet to Genoa, Italy for the Grand Finale.

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Skipper Kevin Escoffier and his Team Holcim-PRB have shattered the existing 24-hour distance records in the monohull class.

First to fall was The Ocean Race 24-Hour Speed Record Challenge sponsored by Ulysse Nardin, previously set at 602 nautical miles by Simeon Tienpont’s Team AkzoNobel in the last race.

A few hours later and the outright monohull record, 618 nautical miles, set by the 100-footer Comanche in 2015, had been eclipsed. Both records are pending ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.

As of 0630 UTC on Friday morning (26 May), Team Holcim-PRB had peaked at 640.9 nautical miles. And by Friday evening UTC they’d taken the lead in Leg 5 from 11th Hour Racing Team too.

Conditions have been near perfect for making a record run — downwind reaching, in 25-27 knots of wind, with a relatively flat sea state.

Escoffier commented on their success: “It’s a great boat and I’m really pleased! It’s not every day you break a record like this.

“I’m really happy for the whole team after what happened on the fourth leg [when the team retired after dismasting]. We don’t know what’s going to happen next, even if we’re going to do everything we can to win this leg. In any case, I think it’s a great reward for the whole team.”

The previous race record holder, Simeon Tienpont, was effusive in his admiration for the new achievement.

“Big congratulations to the Holcim-PRB crew,” he said. “When I woke up this morning it brought a big smile to my face… For me personally it’s great to see these boats crushing the race record but also the 24-hour record by beating a 100-foot maxi yacht. That is just insane! I think It’s really good for the sport; it shows what we are capable of these days, with all the foiling techniques and innovations.

“It must be unbelievably exciting for those guys — I think this is a record that will be hard to break.”

Team Holcim-PRB hasn’t been alone on this record-breaking mission. In fact, the first into the favourable conditions was 11th Hour Racing Team which was also the first to push past the existing race record.

But the boat topped out its run at 611.9 nautical miles, all the more remarkable considering the team reported a collision with what the crew suspect to be “a marine mammal or megafauna”.

As previously reported on, the boat came to a sudden stop and according to the team, trimmer Charlie Dalin suffered a suspected mild concussion, while media crew member Amory Ross injured his shoulder.

After consultation with the onshore race doctor, who has prescribed rest and monitoring, the team is continuing to race towards Aarhus. The boat does not appear to be damaged and remains at the front of the fleet.

Now within 50 miles of the front IMOCA pair, Team Malizia was the last of the leading trio to enter the ‘record run’ conditions and the team has been posting impressive stats throughout the day.

Further back, Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm crew is still battling different conditions to the leading trio, and although their boat speed is rising they are now nearly 500 miles behind.

The ETA for the finish in Aarhus has moved forward with the record-breaking conditions to this Monday 29 May.

Leg Five Rankings at 1900 UTC, 26 May

  1. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 1,009.2 miles
  2. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 3.1 miles
  3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 46.1 miles
  4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 487.1 miles

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race
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It’s going to be an interesting 24 hours in Leg 5 of The Ocean Race 2022-23 as the leading trio find themselves in strong downwind reaching conditions and ‘relatively’ flat water — a combination that could produce a new 24-hour distance record.

11th Hour Racing Team, at the head of the IMOCA fleet, is already posting a run of over 550 miles for the past 24 hours, a number that is currently going up with each hourly position report.

“We’ve got plenty of wind, there’s a bit more pressure than forecast, and it’s still a little bumpy, but we got out across the front earlier than the other guys which seems to be a gain for now,” said 11th Hour Racing Team’s skipper Charlie Enright. “And we just had 31 knots as a 10-minute average, which isn’t nothing!”

Team Holcim-PRB and Team Malizia, in second and third place respectively, are striving to match that pace. This is a flat-out drag race, with limited tactical opportunities.

“It’s a speed course, not a strategic course, at the moment,” said Yann Eliès on Team Malizia. “When we get close to Aarhus it becomes more of a coastal race with some more strategic options.”

Race meteorologist Christian Dumard explains: “The three first boats are sailing around the high pressure weather system in strong southerly winds, while Biotherm couldn’t cross the front and is in upwind conditions. For the leaders, the wind could still be quite strong through Friday, before the it shifts to the northwest.”

Dumard adds that the current forecast is for light winds near the finish, which could provide wholesale changes for the leaders. “Anything could happen,” he says.

“It’s been tough for us, we got caught behind the fleet in the light winds leaving Newport and we’ve since had some technical issues on board — the autopilot and our electronics,” said Alan Roberts on Biotherm. “We also had a sail lock break and we needed to recover the J3 headsail out of the water — we’ve lost a few hours dealing with these problems.”

Those lost hours and miles are now compounding as Biotherm is on the unfavourable side of the front and still pushing more upwind. “The sea state has been pretty messy so we’ve had to back off in the nasty conditions,” Roberts adds. “It is what it is. All we can do is to keep going as fast as possible in the weather conditions we have.”

Leg Five Rankings at 1700 UTC, 25 May

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 1,655.4 miles
  2. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 19.3 miles
  3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 83.3 miles
  4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 264.4 miles

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race
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It’s been a bumpy ride for the past two days of The Ocean Race as winds in the 25-30 knot range interact with the currents of the Gulf Stream to make an uncomfortable and unpredictable sea state.

Despite that, the leading IMOCA trio have been racing north at a 500-mile per day pace, ticking down the miles towards Aarhus, Denmark.

But on Wednesday afternoon (24 May), they are pushing towards the centre of the low pressure system that has been the dominant weather feature of this leg, and are seeing the wind back around from the northwest to the southwest. This will require a gybe and at least a few hours on a east-southeast heading that isn’t particularly favourable in terms of getting to Aarhus.

11th Hour Racing Team, leading the fleet, was the first to see this shift and the first to gybe. It’s been an exhausting run since the start, and skipper Charlie Enright is exhausted.

“There hasn’t been a lot of sleep at all because of the weather. I’m pretty tired,” he said. “We’re trying to manage the situation as best we can, rotating through people. But there’s been a lot of manoeuvres — some expected, most unexpected — so it’s been tough to plan around.”

There’s no opportunity to let up. As the first boat to gybe, 11th Hour Racing Team has seen its lead of 15 miles over Team Holcim-PRB drop to less than one mile, with Malizia — winners of the leg-starting In Port Race on Sunday — also finding its form and staying in touch just 16 miles back. If the others don’t gybe, there will be a new leader in the next hours, even if 11th Hour Racing Team retains a tactically strong position.

“We had a good day today. We managed to find our speed again and kind of match pace with Team Holcim-PRB and 11th Hour Racing Team,” said Will Harris on Malizia. “They managed to get away from us a bit yesterday but we’re trying to find our legs, find our speed in these conditions. But we’re still in touch, a long way to go and we just have to keep going.”

Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm team has dropped back a little more over the past 24 hours, not showing the pace required to stay with the leading trio.

GUYOT envrionnement - Team Europe is not participating in Leg 5 after its dismasting in the final days of Leg 4. The boat is being shipped to Europe and the team is exploring options to rejoin the race.

The ETA in Aarhus remains next Tuesday 30 May, but there is still a degree of uncertainty around this, which should work out over the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, the organising committee of Genova — The Grand Finale launched its ‘one month to go’ countdown today, with Ocean Live Park in the finish port opening on Saturday 24 June.

Leg Five Rankings at 1800 UTC, 24 May

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 2,213.7 miles
  2. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 15.5 miles
  3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 34.1 miles
  4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 109.4 miles

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race
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As the fifth leg of The Ocean Race 2022-23 approaches, Team Holcim-PRB skipper Kevin Escoffier and his crew have a total of 19 points — with a one-point lead over Leg 4 winner 11th Hour Racing Team and second-placed Malizia, who are tied at 18 points.

And with double points up for grabs in the upcoming leg, which begins next Sunday 21 May, the team is fighting to ready the IMOCA boat following its devastating dismasting just days out of Itajaí.

One thing that should boost Escoffier’s and morale alike is the return of Charles Caudrelier as part of a handpicked crew of transatlantic specialists intimately familiar with the boat.

The skipper of Dongfeng Race Team (who won the race in 2017-18) and recent Route du Rhum victor will serve as navigator alongside British sailors Abby Ehler and Sam Goodchild, while Yann Riou will take charge of photo and video production as onboard reporter.

“My idea was to reunite the core of the crew,” Escoffier says. “Sam Goodchild will be returning after sailing on his IMOCA and has had a little rest. Abby is coming back in great shape and as motivated as ever.

“As for Tom [Laperche], he has embarked on his own project and was no longer available. So, I called upon Charles Caudrelier, who will be the navigator on board. I chose Charles because he is someone I know very well, who is highly motivated, and who has great experience in The Ocean Race. We communicate well together, and he can contribute a lot in terms of performance on the boat.

“I think we both have a passion for technology and performance. We are also fully dedicated to the sport, and that is something I greatly appreciate. We have started working on the weather and discussing pilot settings, polars [etcetera].”

Abby Ehler and Sam Goodchild have each already competed in two legs of The Ocean Race aboard Holcim-PRB, including the third leg in the Southern Ocean.

Both are enthusiastic about returning to the blue and green monohull. Ehler’s experience with three previous circumnavigations and Goodchild’s extreme motivation will undoubtedly be valuable assets for this leg.

“They are two very good sailors who have already impressed me with their qualities and skills in the previous legs,” the skipper says. “For me, they are among the pillars of the crew. Together, we have completed three-quarters of the circumnavigation in terms of mileage.”

Escoffier is determined to perform well again after the setback in the fourth leg: “We are taking a fresh start, and although we didn’t finish the last race, our lead was comfortable enough to keep us in the lead of The Ocean Race.

“While the upcoming leg is important, I know that there are still 50% of the points to be earned until the finish in Genoa in July. So, we are only halfway through the race. And the pace is only going to accelerate. I know this from experience, so we need to stay focused.”

Leg 5, which covering 3,500 nautical miles across the north Atlantic, promises to be intense once again. Beyond the double points, the demands of this return journey to Europe will require the crew to be fully in sync with the boat and execute a perfect strategy in order to hope for a leading position in Denmark.

“I expect it to be cold,” Escoffier says. “It’s a leg we don’t often do. I have already done several transatlantic crossings in this direction, but always to arrive in France. Going to Denmark will take us through the north of the British Isles. That completely changes the game in terms of weather strategy, and that’s something new for me. We will have to play around the ice limit, not far from Newfoundland. It’s going to be a very interesting leg.”

Published in Ocean Race

Skipper Paul Meilhat and his Biotherm team had a long wait to get to the Leg 4 finish on Thursday morning (11 May) in Newport, Rhode Island.

With an initial ETA of 0530 local time, the light overnight winds nearly died completely with the sunrise, leaving the team to battle adverse conditions for a few more hours before they finally glided across the finish line at 08:04 (12:04 UTC) for a leg race time of 17 days, 19 hours, 49 minutes and 38 seconds.

It’s a third-place finish for Meilhat and leaves his team in fourth spot on the overall race leaderboard — five points behind Team Malizia and 11th Hour Racing Team, who sit equal on 18 points, just a single point adrift of the race leader Team Holcim-PRB.

The Ocean Race is still quite open heading into the race across the Atlantic, which counts for double points,” Meilhat said. “After our good start on this leg we would have liked to have been able to fight with the top guys a bit more but we are happy looking ahead to the next part of the race.”

The leg from Itajaí to Newport started well for Biotherm, who were in the lead — or very close to it — for most of the race up the coast of Brazil. An unfortunate few hours in the doldrums saw the team completely becalmed, while the others raced away, effectively ending their chances of competing for a leg win.

“That’s sailboat racing. That’s the way it goes sometimes,” Alan Roberts said. “You can get mad or frustrated, but it doesn’t help.”

Biotherm sails into Newport on Thursday 11 May after 17 days of racing from Brazil | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceBiotherm sails into Newport on Thursday 11 May after 17 days of racing from Brazil | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Roberts was one of three new crew members to join Meilhat for this leg, who said the new group gelled quickly to become a strong crew: “It’s not easy to bring a completely new group on board, but I’m happy with how everyone worked together to become a team.”

Meilhat said the team suffered minor damage across several areas during the storm three days ago that saw their rivals on GUYOT environnement - Team Europe dismasted. The Biotherm team will focus on getting the IMOCA boat ready ahead of the Newport In Port Race, scheduled for Saturday 20 May ahead of the leg start on Sunday 21 May.

Leg 4 positions/points

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

The Ocean Race Leaderboard (through Leg 4)

  1. Team Holcim-PRB – 19 points
  2. 11th Hour Racing Team – 18 points
  3. Team Malizia – 18 points (tie is broken by In Port Series standings)
  4. Biotherm – 13 points
  5. GUYOT envrionnement - Team Europe – 2 points
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11th Hour Racing Team won Leg 4 of The Ocean Race 2022-23, leading the fleet into their hometown of Newport, Rhode Island on a spectacular spring afternoon in New England on Wednesday (10 May).

Skipper Charlie Enright was beaming as he stepped ashore, moments after his team — which includes Irish offshore veteran Damian Foxall — held off Team Malizia to cross the finishing line (at 19:13:22 UTC) for their first leg win of the event.

“This means so much to all of us,” Enright said. “Timing is everything and to be able to get this result, on this leg, coming to our home base in Newport feels incredible. Everybody on the team played a role and did their part.

11th Hour Racing Team’s Malama is greeted by a welcoming flotilla in Newport on Wednesday afternoon 10 May | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race11th Hour Racing Team’s Malama is greeted by a welcoming flotilla in Newport on Wednesday afternoon 10 May | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

“It feels so good to see all the boats on the water and the people here on shore to welcome us and share this with us. We’re grateful for the support and happy we could get the win for everybody.”

It wasn’t an easy leg. Over the 17 days of racing north from Itajaí in Brazil, the IMOCA teams had to manage numerous transitions between weather systems, from the southern hemisphere trade winds, through the doldrums and into the north Atlantic trades.

A storm just two days out from the finish brought wind gusts over 50 knots and a brutal sea state, conditions that veteran on board reporter Amory Ross described as “terrifying”.

Team Malizia arrived in Newport at 19:13:22 UTC with a race time of 17 days, 2 hours, 58 minutes and 22 seconds — under 32 minutes from first place | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceTeam Malizia arrived in Newport at 19:13:22 UTC with a race time of 17 days, 2 hours, 58 minutes and 22 seconds — under 32 minutes from first place | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

And through it all, 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia exchanged the lead over a dozen times, before Enright and his squad emerged with the win on Wednesday afternoon.

“This was a great race,” said Team Malizia skipper Will Harris. “It was close racing, which is something we always like, and it sets us up nicely for the legs ahead.”

The results today — combined with overall race leader Team Holcim-PRB having to retire from the leg after dismasting on day four — mean the top three teams on the leaderboard will be within one point when the transatlantic race starts on Sunday 21 May.

Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm crew is still at sea racing towards Newport, with over 150 miles left to run. Their ETA has slipped into Thursday (11 May) as the boat is mired in lighter winds.

Leg 4 positions (as at 22:10 UTC on Wednesday 10 May)

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team - 5 points
  2. Team Malizia - 4 points
  3. Biotherm - racing, DTF 157.7 miles
  4. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe - suspended racing
  5. Team Holcim-PRB - retired from leg - 0 points
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Wednesday (10 May) dawned with a beautiful morning in Newport, Rhode Island. It’s a cool, crisp, spring day with bright sunshine and clear blue skies.

Unfortunately for the IMOCA trio racing towards The Ocean Race’s Leg 4 finish line off Fort Adams State Park, the high-pressure system clearing the sky today also brings light winds.

11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia have therefore been engaged in a low speed, tactical race over the final 80 miles of this leg, weaving through exclusion zones and searching for the first sign of a new breeze.

It’s an agonising way to finish the leg, but on Malizia at least, spirits remain high.

“We have one final fight with 11th Hour Racing Team, one final push, and I think we can be very happy with how we’ve sailed so far,” said Malizia skipper Will Harris. “We just have to enjoy these last few hours at sea and we can look forward to a nice welcome in Newport. No matter how it goes, we can be happy with how we sailed and knowing we’ve given it everything we’ve got so far.”

As they get closer to shore and the sea breeze builds, speeds will pick up and both leading boats are expected to finish later in the afternoon local time (1900 to 1930 UTC) in Newport.

In the latest update from the leading boat at 1730 UTC, navigator Simon Fisher on 11th Hour Racing Team said: “We are reaching in, the breeze is filling in as forecast and things are looking good for an afternoon finish in Newport. We wanted to be between Malizia and the new breeze… and generally it’s been alright. We still have some miles on them and so far so good.”

The third boat racing — Biotherm — is about 160 miles behind and projected to finish about six hours behind the leaders.

“It’s not over yet, we’re still pushing into the finish,” said Alan Roberts on Biotherm. “Some snakes and ladders ahead…”

Elsewhere, following their dismasting in stormy conditions yesterday, the sailors on board GUYOT environnement - Team Europe have secured the boat and mounted a jury rig and are now able to make way across the wind. More information is expected from the team shortly.

Leg Four Rankings at 1800 UTC, 10 May

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 13.2 miles
  2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 10.3 miles
  3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 167.1 miles
  4. GUYOT enironnement - Team Europe, racing suspended

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

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The GUYOT environnement - Team Europe crew are safe and working on a jury rig after dismasting in a fierce North Atlantic storm overnight on the closing stages of Leg 4 of The Ocean Race 2022-23 from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island.

At 0243 UTC on Tuesday (9 May), while the team was racing in fourth place in gale-force winds and big waves, the IMOCA boat slammed off a wave and the mast crashed down.

Despite worsening conditions, the team was able to cut the wreckage of the broken mast away, to avoid further damage to the boat, while preserving as much equipment as possible.

Staff from race control at The Ocean Race headquarters in Alicante are in regular contact with the crew, who have not requested outside assistance and are currently evaluating the next steps along with their shore crew. That could include going to Halifax in Canada or to be towed with a ship or a fishing boat to the USA.

Speaking to journalists from on board the boat via a video link this afternoon, co-skipper Robert Stanjek outlined the crew’s current situation and described the conditions overnight leading up to the mast break.

“At the moment we are about 600 miles away from Newport and there are still big waves and quite a bit of wind too,” he said. “We broke the rig in the night at two o’clock UTC. I think it was not a super strong low pressure but I think we registered up to 50 to 52 knots of wind with an average of 40 to 45 knots.

“We thought we were managing well. We had only the main up with reefs and we were sailing at reduced speed but the waves were a little bit too big. There was a particularly big slam and the mast inverted and broke.”

Asked if the crew had been able to set up any sort of jury rig to aid the boat’s progress towards land, Stanjek said: “That’s the plan, but at the moment the sea state is too big and it is too windy to work on deck. In the meantime we are working on ideas because it is a long way to get to the US.”

The team skipper Benjamin Dutreux said their immediate focus was on getting the boat to shore to properly assess the extent of the damage caused in the incident.

Leg 4, Day 15 (Monday 8 May) onboard 11th Hour Racing Team, as Damian Foxall plugging in the storm jib in strong winds through the Gulf Stream | Credit: Amory Ross/11th Hour Racing/The Ocean RaceLeg 4, Day 15 (Monday 8 May) onboard 11th Hour Racing Team, as Damian Foxall plugging in the storm jib in strong winds through the Gulf Stream | Credit: Amory Ross/11th Hour Racing/The Ocean Race

“We need to work on a plan of how to get back in the race, but the first step is to get the boat to a harbour and to carry out an inventory of the damage,” he said. “We will do our best to rejoin the fleet again but it is hard to say what percentage of a chance we have.”

Meanwhile, at the front of the fleet, 11th Hour Racing Team (USA) and Team Malizia (GER) were the first to emerge from what Amory Ross, the veteran onboard reporter on 11th Hour Racing Team called “terrifying” conditions.

With fewer than 350 miles to race to Newport, the leading pair are still close — about 37 miles of separation on the race tracker as of 1700 UTC — with skipper Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team hoping to benefit from some local knowledge on the approach to the crew’s home port.

“We are doing everything we can to try not to break anything,” Enright reported from the boat. “The difference in the leg can be made here by not making any mistakes, keeping high [speed] averages, and keeping the boat moving towards the mark. No bear aways, no breakages and none of that stuff. To the north we go.”

Team Malizia skipper Will Harris said the crew of the German entry had also been focused on avoiding serious damage in the boat-breaking conditions overnight but were gunning to chase down their American rival before the finish.

“It got pretty bouncy but we have been anticipating this for the last four to five days so we knew it was coming. We are pretty experienced now after Leg 3. We got through it, keeping the boat in one piece,” he said.

“We lost a few more miles to 11th Hour Racing Team which is really what we didn’t want, because it just makes it harder to come back to them. We are staying positive and we think there is a chance up ahead. You know it’s not over until we or they cross the line and anything could still happen.”

Current ETA for 11th Hour Racing Team in Newport is Wednesday 10 May between 1800 and 2200 UTC (1400 and 1800 local time) followed by Team Malizia two hours later, with Paul Meilhat’s third-placed Biotherm (FRA) expected to arrive around five hours afterwards.

Kevin Escoffier’s Swiss entry Team Holcim-PRB — which was dismasted earlier in Leg 4 off the Brazilian coast — is on board a cargo ship en route to Newport where the crew plan to step a new mast in time for the start of Leg 5 to Aarhus, Denmark on 21 May, which counts for double points.

Leg Four Rankings at 1700 UTC, 9 May

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 291.9 miles
  2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 37.1 miles
  3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 182.6 miles
  4. GUYOT enironnement - Team Europe, racing suspended

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

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As the leading boats get within 600 miles of the Leg 4 finishing line off Newport, Rhode Island, the IMOCA crews are preparing for a brutal afternoon and evening at sea on Monday (8 May).

There is a weather front approaching with southwest winds forecast at 40 knots, gusting as high at 50 knots. If this weather comes through as predicted, it will be some of the strongest winds the teams have faced thus far in The Ocean Race 2022-23.

11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia were beginning to feel the impact of this system already as of 1400 UTC this afternoon. Adding to the stress is the current the boats are starting to see as well, due to the Gulf Stream. Fortunately, the wind direction — southwest — is largely in line with the current, which should keep the sea state manageable.

“I’ve been trying to get my head around the forecast for the final couple of days…it’s hard,” said Francesca Clapcich on 11th Hour Racing Team. “Leg 4 is not over! It’s going to be pretty messy.”

“I think the whole fleet will get tested,” said onboard reporter Amory Ross. “We’re making sure we’re prepared going into this and the boat is in good shape. This will be the most wind we have seen all leg. We haven’t even had a reef in since we left Brazil… It’s just one more significant obstacle between here and Newport.”

11th Hour Racing Team has eked out to an 18-mile lead over Team Malizia (as at 1800 UTC) heading into this weather front.

“We are going into a small low pressure, with very strong wind, probably around 50 knots at one stage. Not for very long, but quite extreme,” said Nico Lunven on Team Malizia. “The sea state should not be too bad, I think, because it’s a new system so it shouldn’t have had time to develop.”

For the pair behind, Biotherm and GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, this system will also be an obstacle.

“The forecast has evolved. The low pressure is deeper and stronger than previously forecast” — that was the description given by Alan Roberts on Biotherm. “There’s possibly 50 knots, gusting even higher, to the south of the low. The optimal route takes us that way but in terms of boat preservation it’s not ideal. We have to decide whether to keep heading north towards it, or to tack and invest in the west in order to pass a bit further south of the low. It’s not easy.”

Roberts’ team on Biotherm have made one little hitch to the west in the past 12 hours, sacrificing a little bit of their lead over GUYOT environnement, who now trail by a little over 30 miles on the leaderboard but are in a tactically more difficult position out to the east.

“We are being welcomed to America with a big low pressure,” said skipper Ben Dutreux. “Some forecasts predict 60 knots of wind. It is not a light one. Biotherm has already set a tack. I think they probably don’t want to go into the storm.”

But this last obstacle can’t be avoided entirely. It will be a leg-defining 24 hours on the North Atlantic.

The ETA to Newport remains this Wednesday 10 May. Following the passage through this storm, the wind fades again quite rapidly, meaning another go-slow period before more moderate reaching conditions power the fleet towards land.

Leg Four Rankings at 1800 UTC, 8 May

  1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 534.2 miles
  2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 18.6 miles
  3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 180.1 miles
  4. GUYOT enironnement - Team Europe, distance to lead, 213.8 miles

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

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