Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Team Holcim-PRB Lead Into Cabo Verde to Win First Leg of The Ocean Race 2022-23

21st January 2023
Team Holcim-PRB are the IMOCA winners of Leg 1 as they arrive into Cabo Verde in the early hours of Saturday 21 January
Team Holcim-PRB are the IMOCA winners of Leg 1 as they arrive into Cabo Verde in the early hours of Saturday 21 January Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

French skipper Kevin Escoffier led his Swiss-flagged Team Holcim-PRB to victory in Leg 1 of The Ocean Race 2022-23 in the early hours of Saturday morning (21 January).

It marked the end of an intense and challenging opening to The Ocean Race — from storm force headwinds in the Mediterranean to fast downwind conditions in the Atlantic with tactical options around the Canary Islands.

The Holcim-PRB team took the lead just before Gibraltar Strait and held on the rest of the way despite the strong pushes from 11th Hour Racing Team and Malizia.

Finally, early on Saturday, Escoffier and his crew raced across the finish line on the waters off Mindelo, Cabo Verde, just after 02:01:59 UTC, completing an impressive performance on the first leg of the race with an elapsed time of five days, 11 hours, 1 minute and 59 seconds.

Team Holcim-PRB crew celebrate their leg win on deck in Cabo Verde | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceTeam Holcim-PRB crew celebrate their leg win on deck in Cabo Verde | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

“The boat is great. Both upwind and downwind, reaching, we have always been fast,” Escoffier said. “I’m very happy to start like this. It was our first race together as a full crew and I don’t regret any of the the choices. They are all great and together we went for the win.”

Second across the line — nearly three hours later — was Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team, who held off a late challenge from Team Malizia on the final day of the leg.

“I think the competition is good,” said Enright on the dock after finishing. “We have fast boats, good sailors. There are different strengths and weaknesses in the boats. Everyone is going to have their day and we’re certainly not taking anything for granted but if we focus on what we can control I think we’re going to be fine. We’re jumping at the opportunity to get going on the next leg.”

For Boris Herrmann, securing a podium finish puts the German team in a safe position after the opening stanza, with six more legs of racing left to gain points.

The top three IMOCAs finished within five-and-a-half hours. Fourth-placed Biotherm and GUYOT environnement - Team Europe are forecast to arrive in Mindelo later on Saturday afternoon.

In the VO65 class, the Polish WindWhisper Racing Team is in a strong position at the head of the fleet over Team JAJO and Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team. All three should finish on Saturday afternoon, with Austrian Ocean Racing — Team Genova, Ambersail 2 and Viva México further behind.

These teams are competing for The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup and will pause their racing activities after this opening stage until the spring, when they resume racing in Aarhus, Denmark.

For the IMOCAs it’s a short — and busy — break. The sailing teams are required to carry out repairs without the assistance of their shore crews at this stop.

Racing resumes in just a few days, with the Cabo Verde start of Leg Two to Cape Town, South Africa scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Rankings at 09:00 UTC, 21 January


  1. Team Holcim-PRB, winner leg one, finished - 5d 11h 01min 59s

  2. 11th Hour Racing Team, finished - 5d 13h 50min 45s

  3. Team Malizia, finished - 5d 16h 35min 21s
  4. Biotherm, 188.4 miles to finish

  5. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, 64.1 miles to leader


  1. WindWhisper Racing, 91.2 miles to finish

  2. Team JAJO, 48 miles to leader

  3. Mirpuri Foundation Race Team, 125.6 miles to leader
  4. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 184.8 miles to leader
  5. Ambersail 2, 224.99miles to leader
  6. Viva Mexico, 848.5 miles to leader

Follow both fleets’ progress to Cabo Verde with regular updates via the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button