Holcim-PRB leads Ocean Race IMOCA fleet sailing fast towards Cabo Verde

Holcim-PRB  leads Ocean Race IMOCA fleet sailing fast towards Cabo Verde

With the VO65s holding close

The Swiss-flagged Holcim-PRB team remains at the head of the IMOCA fleet on Wednesday as all five boats are setting a blistering pace directly towards Cabo Verde. The leading teams are putting up close to 500-mile days with Holcim-PRB now just 992 miles from the finishing line at Cabo Verde.

Now free of the constraints of the Mediterranean, the teams are set up for some fast sailing across the wind. IMOCAs are designed to excel in these conditions and the miles to the finish line are melting away.

Kevin Escoffier’s Holcim-PRB are holding off 11th Hour Racing Team for the lead, while Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia is positioned furthest east and closest to the direct route rhumb line.

“I think we’ve seen 33.7 knots of boat speed this morning,” said Will Harris on board Team Malizia. “We’re going fast… We’re enjoying some straight line sailing after all the tacking getting to Gibraltar. Looking forward to getting to Cabo Verde in a few days.”

In fact, the ETA for the IMOCA fleet is overnight (GMT) on Friday, with France’s Biotherm and GUYOT envirionnement Team Europe some 100 miles behind the leaders.

In The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint, WindWhisper Racing Team, Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team and Team JAJO are fighting for the lead and keeping pace with the fourth and fifth placed IMOCA boats.

Here, life on board is under ‘firehose’ conditions with water constantly pouring over the deck and into the sailors in the cockpit.

“Everything I brought is either wet, or more wet,” said Cecilia Zorzi (ITA) from on board the fourth-placed Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova. “Nothing is dry but we are still having fun and Cabo Verde is getting closer and closer.”

Still in the Mediterranean, Viva Mexico resumed racing on Wednesday morning with a different mainsail after damaging their original beyond repair. They are just over 550 miles behind the rest of the fleet.

The VO65s are currently expected to arrive in Cabo Verde over the course of the day on Saturday (GMT).

Rankings at 1500 GMT - 18 January 2023


1. Team Holcim-PRB, 992.5 miles to finish
2. 11th Hour Racing Team, 17.8 miles to leader
3. Team Malizia, 75.6 miles to leader
4. Biotherm, 107.0 miles to leader
5. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, 139.7 miles to leader


1. WindWhisper Racing, 1100.4 miles to finish
2. Mirpuri Foundation Race Team, 22.6 miles to leader
3. Team JAJO, 31.2 miles to leader

4. Austrian Ocean Race - Team Genova, 66.0 miles to leader
5. Ambersail 2, 107.1 miles to leader
6. Viva Mexico, resumed racing, 574.4 miles to leader

Image: Leg 1 onboard Holcim - PRB Team © Julien Champolion - polaRYSE / Holcim - PRB