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Fast and Furious Leg 3 Start Gives Way to Light Winds for The Ocean Race Fleet

27th February 2023
Biotherm skipper Paul Meilhat leaving the Cape Town lights behind shortly after midnight on Monday 28 February
Biotherm skipper Paul Meilhat leaving the Cape Town lights behind shortly after midnight on Monday 28 February Credit: Ronan Gladu/Biotherm

After beating upwind into the teeth of a gale on Sunday evening (26 February), a few hours after the Leg 3 start, things have slowed down for The Ocean Race fleet — now back up to a full complement of five racing boats — as of Monday (27 February).

The five IMOCA crews are bumping into a small ridge of high pressure and the light winds associated with it. They’ll have to push through this to get south and into the higher latitudes of the Roaring 40s to pick up the train of low-pressure systems that will deliver them around Antarctica and towards Cape Horn on this longest leg in race history.

But there is another obstacle as well. A very strong eddy from the Agulhas current has at times been pushing the boats north at up to four knots. 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia appear to have been particularly punished by this.

Finally, when the teams do make it to the south, they’ll face some of the strongest winds and fearsome seas they’ve seen in the race.

By noon on Tuesday (28 February) the wind is forecast to be near 40 knots, with waves of up to six metres. It will be very challenging conditions.

On the race course, both 11th Hour Racing Team and Biotherm rejoined the race after making repairs. Skipper Charlie Enright had his 11th Hour Racing Team ready to go as soon as the mandatory two-hour period expired.

For Paul Meilhat, it took longer to source supplies and start the repairs, but he was able to leave the dock just before midnight in Cape Town and restart a few minutes later at 2221 UTC.

The light conditions have allowed Meilhat and his team to close the gap significantly already, showing the wisdom of the decision to take a short break to ensure his boat is ready for the rigours ahead. Repairs continue on board.

Kevin Escoffier and his Team Holcim-PRB are in a familiar position at the front of the fleet, perhaps just nosing through the ridge, with Benjamin Dutreux and Robert Stanjek’s GUYOT environnement - Team Europe very close behind.

“The wind has been a bit lighter than expected,” said Escoffier during the night. “We are also in the ‘current loop’ which is pushing against us.”

The next 24 to 36 hours will be a fascinating period in this race.

Leg Three Rankings at 1700 UTC, 27 February

  1. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 12,926.7 miles
  2. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, distance to lead, 19.6 miles
  3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 45.3 miles
  4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 46.2 miles
  5. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 52.4 miles

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race Team

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