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Cat-and-Mouse Game Towards the Doldrums for The Ocean Race IMOCAs

27th January 2023
Susann Beucke throws the new sheet outboard of the foil onboard Team Holcim-PRB, Thursday 26 January
Susann Beucke throws the new sheet outboard of the foil onboard Team Holcim-PRB, Thursday 26 January Credit: Georgia Schofield/polaRYSE/Holcim-PRB

Lighter conditions doesn’t mean easier racing in Leg 2 of The Ocean Race 2022-23 as the IMOCA fleet finds itself constantly shifting gears, making sail changes and gybing as the teams zig-zag southwest towards the equator and the doldrums.

Every change in the breeze brings the potential for a sail change. Each move by the opposition brings a decision on whether to match or continue.

It’s exhausting, but can bring some rewards, as it has for GUYOT environnement - Team Europe who are now back with the rest of the fleet.

“We’ve clawed back and made contact with the fleet again, which is super,” said skipper Robert Stanjek. “We’re in a nice position and we can finally compare ourself to another boat live, not just by the numbers.”

The GUYOT boat and Team Malizia had been matching gybes with each other since about 20:00 UTC on Thursday night, but as of Friday afternoon (27 January) the German-flagged team is nearly 100 nautical miles behind the leader.

Further ahead, the leading duo of Biotherm and 11th Hour Racing Team are doing the same, having left Team Holcim-PRB to duel with the resurgent GUYOT.

“As the trade winds build we want to start getting west but we need to make sure we don’t go too early,” said 11th Hour Racing Team’s Simon Fisher. And this is what we see playing out on the tracker: every move to the west balanced by another gybe south.

There’s a lot at stake here, with a potential leg-winning advantage to be found with a quick doldrums crossing and being first into the trade winds south of the equator.

This will play out over the course of the weekend, with doldrums and equator crossing likely on Sunday.

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

Leg Two Rankings at 1600 UTC, 27 January

  1. Biotherm, distance to finish, 4,438.4 miles
  2. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to leader, 8.5 miles
  3. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, distance to leader, 32 miles
  4. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to leader, 38.2 miles
  5. Team Malizia, distance to leader, 97.9 miles
Published in Ocean Race Team

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