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Back Up to Speed for The Ocean Race IMOCAs in the South Pacific

20th March 2023
Onboard Team Malizia on Monday 20 March, Nicolas Lunven studies the boat’s next move
Onboard Team Malizia on Monday 20 March, Nicolas Lunven studies the boat’s next move Credit: Antoine Auriol/Team Malizia/The Ocean Race

Leg 3’s four IMOCAs pushing east through the southern latitudes of the Pacific Ocean are seeing better speeds today, following a weekend of light winds for The Ocean Race.

Racing along the ice exclusion limit at 52-degrees south, the teams are in 15 to 25 knots of wind, and average speeds are back up near 20 knots.

And it is still incredibly, impossibly close racing: at 2000 UTC on Monday (20 March), the four boats are separated by just over six nautical miles on the tracker leaderboard, and 3.5 miles north to south.

“We are quite fast,” said Kevin Escoffier on the leading Team Holcim PRB. “I think when we are close to the other boats we are ok with the speed…But each time we get fast and away from the others, they come back with wind from behind.”

“We are going well, almost in the middle of the Pacific,” said Nico Lunven from Team Malizia. “The fleet is very compressed together so we are able to monitor the other boats quite well to check whether we are sailing faster or slower, higher or lower than the other.”

“It’s all very close, the fleet is back together, it’s like a complete restart,” agreed Justine Mettreaux on 11th Hour Racing Team. “It’s going to be interesting. A lot to play for over the coming days.”

“It’s crazy,” said 11th Hour’s skipper Charlie Enright. “Despite the fact that there are these boats right here [beside us], we are just trying to race ourselves, not change our philosophy. There is a lot of race left and particularly before Cape Horn we know that there is going to be some big weather. So we really want to keep this boat in one piece and we’ll go from there.”

The longer range forecast is for more ‘southern ocean’ type conditions on the approach to Cape Horn next weekend, when the fleet will be squeezed between an ice exclusion zone that is unusually far north due to confirmed ice sightings and perhaps the most infamous rocky outcropping in the world, which will force them to dive far to the south, dipping as far as 57-degrees south.

Very strong westerly winds — and an accompanying sea state upwards of six metres — is the current prediction for Cape Horn, so the sailors have enjoyed their last days of relative calm with two weeks of racing left to Itajaí, Brazil.

Leg Three Rankings at 2000 UTC, 20 March

  • Team Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 4,436.1 miles
  • 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 2.3 miles
  • Team Malizia, distance to lead, 4 miles
  • Biotherm, distance to lead, 6.1 miles

Find the latest fleet positions on the race tracker at

Published in Ocean Race Team

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