Image:O nboard Team Malizia. Drone view. Rosalin Kuiper on the mast, witnessing the close racing between Team Malizia and Biotherm.
© Antoine Auriol / Team Malizia
On Saturday it seemed as if the race couldn't get any closer. By Sunday morning UTC that was proved wrong.
Today, all four teams are lined up on a 13 mile line extending north to south, but separated by less than 3 miles on the leaderboard. All this after three full weeks of racing.
The reason for the close racing remains a stubbornly persistent ridge of high pressure and its light winds that is acting as a barrier to the teams making progress to the east.
In these conditions, the wind is marginally stronger to the south, so the teams have been taking it in turns to gybe south, dropping down the leaderboard by a few miles as they move towards the ice exclusion zone, before making gains back when the next team dives south.
This should remain the dominant weather pattern until Monday when the ridge begins to dissipate and stronger winds return.
"There is a ridge of high pressure in front of us and a low pressure behind, so we are stuck a bit in the middle," is the way Biotherm skipper Paul Meilhat explains the situation.
It's definitely worth taking a look at the Content from the Boats page today. In the relatively calm conditions, teams are doing repairs, boat and mast checks and plenty of drone flying.
When Team Malizia's Rosie Kuiper went up the mast, she could see all four boats from the top of the rig, for example.
While the past couple of days provided a respite from typical southern latitude conditions, the forecast shows this will be shortlived, with the breeze coming on again to start the week.
The latest weather routings have the teams passing Cape Horn in one week, on 26/27 March, while the ETA in Itajaí, Brazil - with less certainty - is the first weekend in April.
About The Ocean Race
Since 1973, The Ocean Race has provided the ultimate test of a team and a human adventure like no other. For nearly 50 years, it has kept an almost mythical hold over some of the greatest sailors and been the proving ground for the legends of our sport.
The 14th edition of The Ocean Race started from Alicante, Spain on 15 January 2023, and will finish in Genova, Italy early in the summer of 2023. The race visits nine iconic cities around the globe over a six-month period (Alicante, Spain - Cabo Verde - Cape Town, South Africa - Itajaí, Brazil - Newport, RI, USA - Aarhus, Denmark - Kiel Fly-By, Germany - The Hague, the Netherlands - Genova, Italy) and features a leg with the longest racing distance in the 50-year history of the event - a 12,750 nautical mile, one-month marathon from Cape Town, South Africa to Itajaí, Brazil. The IMOCA fleet of mixed crews will pass all three great southern Capes - Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn - non-stop, for the first time.
Along with five confirmed foiling IMOCA teams racing around the world, six one-design VO65 boats will race on three legs with an option to compete for a new trophy within The Ocean Race called The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup.
Sustainability in The Ocean Race
We have a proven commitment to sustainability, and with the support and collaboration of 11th Hour Racing, Founding Partner of the Race Sustainability Programme and Premier Partner of The Ocean Race, we are inspiring action and creating tangible outcomes.
Building upon our award-winning legacy in sustainability, our innovative Racing With Purpose programme is acting as a catalyst for positive change and accelerating the application of innovative solutions to help restore ocean health.