Image: Day 10 onboard GUYOT environnement - Team Europe. Phillip Kasüske on the bow at sunrise. © Charles Drapeau / GUYOT environnement - Team Europe
Compression and a move to the south from the western contingent leaves GUYOT environnement looking for answers...
"Around the outside" is a trope that gets pulled out at one point or another on every edition of The Ocean Race. It refers to a tactical option on the race course where a boat, or boats, sail a longer route in more favourable conditions to make a pass on the leaderboard.
Today it's appropriate as Team Holcim-PRB, 11th Hour Racing Team, Biotherm, and even Team Malizia have used the longer, westerly option to slide south of GUYOT environnement - Team Europe who has been leading for much of leg 2.
Up until now, what would traditionally be considered a risky easterly option had paid off for Robert Stanjek and his team on GUYOT environnement.
But between 2100 UTC Friday night and 0900 UTC Saturday morning, their luck appears to have run out and the tactical scenario has turned on its head.
While all boats in the fleet slowed and suffered some tricky shifts to navigate, it was much worse for the European flagged team, who are no longer the most southerly boat and look to be in a very vulnerable position.
The tracker still shows GUYOT environnement - Team Europe with a nominal lead, but this is based solely on the math of being to the east and therefore the closest boat to Cape Town. The tactical reality is very different.
Read 11th Hour Racing Team strategist and veteran navigator on The Ocean Race, Marcel van Triest, on how to interpret the tracker
The tracker also shows compression in the entire fleet with the most westerly boat, Team Malizia, making strong gains behind the tight trio of Holcim-PRB, 11th Hour Racing Team and Biotherm, who are within sight of each other - the spread being down to about 10 miles on the water and closing.
"The wind is a bit shifty with some squalls to play with. Lots of wind variations so we need to change sails, adjust trimming, gybe, etc," was the report on Saturday morning from Nico Lunven on Team Malizia.
"We are quite happy as we have been able to catch up a bit our competitors. Now we are only 30-40 nautical miles behind Holcim - Biotherm - 11th Hour. And GUYOT is in a different option, much closer to the rhumb line (direct route to Cape Town) but in light wind for now.
"Ahead of us, there is still a lot to play for. The next goal is to catch some strong NW wind in order to be able to gain to the East, towards Cape Town.
"Life is good on board. We had some showers under the rain squalls yesterday. We will need to monitor our remaining food as the leg is longer than expected..."
The ETA for Cape Town is now 11-12 February.
Leg Two Rankings at 1200 UTC - 4 February 2023
1. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, distance to finish, 2595.0 miles
2. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 47.3 miles
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 50.8 miles
4. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 60.1 miles
5. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 82.0 miles