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The western option has been the winner in the last 24 hours as The Ocean Race fleet compresses

04/02/2023

Updated at 3:07 p.m.

Although it may seem strange, in all editions of The Ocean Race there comes a time when the boats need to travel more miles than there are in a straight line to reach their destination faster. Normally, the wind conditions on the short route are weak, so it pays to choose a longer route, but with stronger winds.

This is exactly the case right now, as Team Holcim-PRB, 11th Hour Racing Team, Biotherm and even Team Malizia have opted for the longer westbound option to try to get south before GUYOT. environnement – Team Europe, who led a large part of stage 2.

Until now, what would traditionally be considered a risky option for the east had been profitable for Robert Stanjek and his GUYOT environnement.

But between 2100 UTC on Friday and 0900 UTC on Saturday, their luck seems to have run out and the tactical scenario has been turned upside down.

While all the ships in the fleet slowed down and suffered some tricky roles to navigate, the scenario was far worse for the European-flagged team, which is no longer the southernmost ship and appears to be in a very vulnerable position.

The tracker still shows GUYOT environnement – Team Europe with a nominal advantage, but this situation is based solely on the math as it is to the east and therefore closer to Cape Town. The tactical reality is very different.

11th Hour Racing Team strategist and expert The Ocean Race navigator Marcel van Triest discusses how to interpret the tracker

The tracker also shows that the entire fleet is compressing and the westernmost boat, Team Malizia, is making strong gains in pursuit of the evenly matched trio of Holcim-PRB, 11th Hour Racing Team and Biotherm, who are in the offing. from each other – the distance between them has shrunk to about 10 miles in the water and is still going down.

“The wind is a bit changeable with some squalls to play with. There are a lot of wind variations so we need to change sails, adjust trim, gybe etc.” read the report on Saturday morning by Nico Lunven from Team Malizia.

“We are very happy because we have been able to catch up a bit with our competitors. We are now only 30-40 nautical miles behind Holcim, Biotherm and 11th Hour. And GUYOT is in a different option, much closer to the direct route to Cape Town. , but with little wind for now.

“Ahead of us, there is still a lot at stake. The next objective is to catch a strong NW wind to be able to win this one, towards Cape Town.”

“Life on board is good. Yesterday we were able to shower with the showers. We will have to control the food we have left since the stage is going to be longer than expected…”

The ETA (expected time of arrival) for Cape Town is now February 11-12.


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