Shifting gears: The race from Cabo Verde to Cape Town is one of transitions
After a week of solid trade wind action in Cabo Verde, the forecast for the start of Leg 2 is much more benign - light NE winds of 5 to 8 knots.
In fact, the weakening trade winds are likely to impact the fleet all the way down to the doldrums - the area of notorious light winds and thunder cells around the equator - making for a fascinating, if slow, start to the leg.
“First we’ll have to manage the windshadow from the islands as they are so tall and the wind is light,” said Robert Stanjek, the skipper of GUYOT environnement - Team Europe.
“It looks like we need to get west to be efficient for passing through the doldrums. That’s the conservative option. So that’s the first days.”
“With the trade winds sort of breaking down, the doldrums get a bit bigger,” said 11th Hour Racing Team’s Simon Fisher. “It’s three or four days to get down there and the trades should be rebuilding again. Getting out of here and picking up the beginning of the rebuild efficiently is quite important.”
Start time for Leg 2 is 1710 local time (1810 UTC) which is about 90-minutes before sunset, so the crews will be into that first night watch nearly
But with all of the transitions involved over the first days, there are likely to be many manoeuvres and rest will be hard to find.
“The first part of the race is going to be super tactical and there will be a lot of opportunities so we’ll all need to be very switched on right from the word go,” said Will Harris, who will be skipper on Team Malizai for leg two.
Four of the five teams have made crew substitutions, with Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm the only team planning to start with the same lineup.
“I think it’s important for us to have the same crew because we have so many things to learn,” Meilhat said. “If we change the minimum of settings, in this case that includes the people, it is easier to see the impacts and to learn.”
For leg one winner Kevin Escoffier on Holcim-PRB, it is a matter of continuing to do the things that pushed his team to get the most out of the boat en route to a victory.
“We’ve known for a while that the boat is quite fast, or at least competitive with the other boats,” Escoffier said. “The main thing is that I am really happy with the crew. For us it was the first time we were sailing offshore together. We had a lot of fun on board. It was a very good mood. At the same time we had a good result. But it was the first one. It doesn’t mean anything. There is plenty still to come and we are focussing on the next one.”
Leg 2 of The Ocean Race is scheduled to start at 1810 UTC (1710 local time in Cabo Verde) Wednesday afternoon and live coverage in many territories shifts to Eurosport and Discovery+.
The Ocean Race Summit Mindelo
On Monday, The Ocean Race Summit Mindelo brought together over 300 ocean advocates in Cabo Verde, including United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres; the Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, Ulisses Correia e Silva; and Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, among many others --- all of them united in their ambition to redouble efforts to protect the ocean.
Image: Start of The Ocean Race, Leg 1 IMOCA Fleet © Sailing Energy / The Ocean Race