Início Vela Last words on the big day

Last words on the big day

15 January 2023, IMOCA Leg 1 Start in Alicante: Holcim - PRB Team, Team Malizia, Guyot Environment - Team Europe and 11th Hour Racing Team


For all the planning and preparation among teams and organisers alike this is the day that the oldest and most famous round world kicks off. Given that, and the fact that it is also the 50th anniversary of The Ocean Race, it is easy to see why the dockside was buzzing.

From the moment the gates opened to the Ocean Live Park, thousands streamed through. This after a record-breaking attendance of 64,500 on Saturday.

Among the eleven boats in the two classes that are setting off today there is a depth of experience across the fleet. Many have been in this position before and as they gave their final thoughts before stepping aboard it was clear that no one was immune to the unique atmosphere that the start of Leg One creates.

Boris Herrmann – Team Malizia (GER)
“It is great to be here and we’re looking forward to pushing out from the dock and getting underway on the leg. Compared to the start of a Vendée Globe when the stress was all on me, I feel comfortable and confident as we have an experienced crew who have worked really hard on this project – it’s a good feeling.”

Benjamin Dutreux – GUYOT environnement – Team Europe (FRA/GER)
“We feel really good about our boat and very happy that we have a boat that has been around the world twice already. We still need to be careful though because the conditions will be tricky as we head towards Gibraltar but it’s about knowing when to push and when to take care.”

Paul Meilhat – Biotherm Racing (FRA)
“We are so happy to be here at the start, it’s been a big challenge to get here and we know we have to take care but we are very excited about this leg, especially once we have got through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Trade Winds. The good thing is that we have a lot of experience on board with a crew that understands how to push and how to hold back.”

Charlie Enright – 11th Hour Racing Team (USA)
“The forecast for the next couple of days is definitely in the top of our minds and we know we need to preserve the boat. This race has a different feel to it for us than the two we did before and while we learned a lot from those two, we feel that we’re in a good spot right now. Once we’re out there I think we are all going to need to find a band of acceptability when it comes to the wind speed and how we set up the boat, but even more so the sea state.”

Kevin Escoffier – Team Holcim PRB (SUI)
“Like everyone else we are focussing on the first 24 hours because we don’t want to break the boat. I think to make a boat reliable there is nothing like single handed sailing because when you are sailing alone you don’t have others to help you and you understand better where the key areas are.”

The weather continues to be the focus for the teams with a forecast that is made all the more complex by the passage of a weather front moving south across the Mediterranean mixes things up.

In short:
Race start – Wind W-WNW 8 – 15 knots
The big change looks set to come on Monday when the wind speed increases to 25-30knots with possible gusts to 45knots and 4-5m waves creating a difficult upwind conditions for the fleet as they head towards the Strait of Gibraltar.

ETA Gibraltar: January 17th between 2h00 and 6h00UTC
ETA Mindello Cabo Verde IMOCA: January 20th
ETA Mindello Cabo Verde VO65: January 20-21st

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