TEAM HOLCIM PRB WIN LEG 2 OF THE OCEAN RACE

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10 February 2023, Leg 2, Day 17 onboard Team Malizia. Will Harris calling 11th Hour Racing Team on VHF.

This finish blog will be updated from time to time as the IMOCA fleet races towards the Cape Town finishing line.

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See the latest content from the boats here

Catch the race coverage on Eurosport here

 

SUNDAY 12 FEBRUARY

1336 UTC / 1536 local time in Cape Town — 11th Hour Racing Team crosses the line to earn 3 points for third place.

1327 UTC / 1527 local time in Cape Town — Biotherm has hung on to take second place, 16 minutes behind Team Holcim – PRB and with 11th Hour Racing Team breathing down their necks.

1311 UTC / 1511 local time in Cape Town — They’ve done it!!! For the second time in two legs, Team Holcim – PRB have taken the win. Kevin Escoffier’s crew earned an incredibly hard-fought win that was in doubt right to the end. Congratulations to the team.

Behind, Biotherm has the advantage for second place, but this is still not decided with 11th Hour Racing Team very close behind.

11 February 2023, Onboard 11th Hour Racing Team during Leg 2, day 18. Jack Bouttell looking to see what front sail Biotherm, on the horizonÕs may be flying.

Team Malizia, after teasing with a nominal lead from a southerly position earlier this morning look secure about one hour back and in fourth place, with GUYOT environnement Team Europe due in to Cape Town this evening in fifth place.

1250 UTC / 1450 local time Cape Town — It’s looking better and better for Team Holcim – PRB, now less than four miles from the finish. The battle rages on for second, with Biotherm less than a mile ahead of 11th Hour Racing Team.

1225 UTC / 1425 local time Cape Town — As Team Holcim – PRB gybe back towards shore they have taken what passes for a commanding position on this leg 2 of The Ocean Race. Behind them however, Biotherm and 11th Hour Racing are locked in a fight for second place.

1200 UTC / 1400 local time Cape Town — You’d have to say Kevin Escoffier and his Team Holcim – PRB are in pole position at the moment with a strong tactical position – between 11th Hour Racing Team and Biotherm and the finishing line – and a two mile advantage on distance to finish.

The wind is slowly filling in. It’s up to 12 knots, from 310 degrees at the finish line.

The leading trio are just over 10 miles from the finish and probably have a bit over one hour to run.

 

1100 UTC / 1300 local time Cape Town — The latest from Team Malizia recorded a short time ago. Skipper Will Harris: “It’s going to be very light, very flukey, not much wind. It’s going to be painful right to the end.”

1000 UTC / 1200 local time Cape Town — It appears as if Biotherm, 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Holcim – PRB have been able to fend off the latest charge by Team Malizia. The trio in the north have gained speed again, and Malizia doesn’t appear able match their angle towards Cape Town.

0900 UTC / 1100 local time Cape Town — You can taste the tension on board Team Holcim PRB in this boatfeed

0840 UTC / 1040 local time Cape Town — Team Malizia has used more breeze in the south to get bow forward on the other three contenders. But they still need to get downwind – at a slow angle – to complete the pass on the race course. Biotherm, 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Holcim – PRB are hoping for just slightly more wind to get back on track towards the finishing line. The forecast is for slightly stronger winds, but they haven’t materialised yet. Check the live tracker

0730 UTC / 0930 local time Cape Town — Tense times on board 11th Hour Racing Team with skipper Charlie Enright: “I trust us when things get tough. We’ve done well and made smart decisions so far. Of course there is a great deal of uncertainty during this approach to Cape Town and with that comes a great deal of anxiety – it’s all I’m thinking about.”

0715 UTC — It’s Team Malizia now who are making a move from their southerly position. Skipper Will Harris and his team are edging forward, gaining nearly 10 miles over the past two hours.

0500 UTC — Three teams are engaged in a fierce fight to the finish with a fourth ready to pounce on any mistake. Biotherm leads 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Holcim – PRB, but Team Malizia is just slightly behind and with leverage to the south. There is just over 50 miles of racing to go and changeable conditions on the final approach.


SATURDAY 11 FEBRUARY

2000 UTC — From 11th Hour Racing Team’s Simon Fisher: “We are so close to Cape Town but the reality of the situation is that this race is far from over. I keep thinking all the miles won and lost up to this point are likely to count for very little. The forecast between here and the finish is complicated, filled with light winds and weather features that are typically poorly defined by the models. Despite hours staring at the various options, they remain just that, for answers aren’t coming any time soon.”

You can read more here

1550 UTC — From Will Harris on Team Malizia: “It looks like we’re sailing on a lake at the moment. You wouldn’t believe we’re 300 miles south of Cape Town at nearly 40-degrees south latitude.. Flat water, 10 knots of wind…”

1315 UTC — From Race Control weather guru Christian Dumard:

The latest ETA is between 0800 and 1200 UTC (10am – 2pm local time) for the first boats. The highest probability is between 0930 and 1130 UTC.

The first four boats could finish within less than one hour after nearly three weeks of racing. The ETA for GUYOT environnement is closer to 1800 UTC.

1225 UTC — “In top gun you would call this a dogfight, a finish like this, no?!?” — Kevin Escoffier, the skipper of Team Holcim – PRB.

1200 UTC — It’s gettling slow out there as the 1200 UTC position report shows the fleet struggling to make 10 knots. All of the boats have turned to the north, a more favourable angle for boatspeed, but slightly off the layline for Cape Town. The navigators will be sharpening their pencils looking for the most efficient way to keep the boat moving towards Cape Town at a reasonable speed. All whilst keeping an eye on the opposition.

“We’re racing into a wall of no wind,” is they way Sam Goodchild on Team Holcim – PRB explains the situation. “We’re all choosing where we go into it, and then hope oyu can get through it more quickly than the others to get to Cape Town. It’s probably going to be quite a close finish.”

 

12 February 2023, Team Holcim – PRB approaches Cape Town.

1000 UTC — The 1000 UTC update shows this race will go down to the wire. Biotherm is now bow forward on 11th Hour Racing Team (the current leader on distance to finish) and Team Holcim – PRB, who are so close together they appear as one boat on the tracker. Keep your eyes peeled to the tracker, which will switch into ‘live mode’ this afternoon for the final push to the Cape Town finish.

0850 UTC — Rosalin Kuiper, Team Malizia: “It looks a bit tricky… Just before Cape Town the wind will be light and downwind. That’s not our best conditions. So this is a very big day. We need to make gains now…”

0800 UTC — It’s another spectacular day in Cape Town – it’s been like this for a week now. Sunny, hot, but very little wind. And this is the problem for the five IMOCA teams trying to close down the last 300 nautical miles of leg 2.

A glance at the tracker tells you all you need to know. The top four boats are all within 7 miles in terms of distance to finish. And the fastest boat in the fleet is fifth-placed GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, now just 80 miles back on the advantage line. Two days ago that delta was over 500 miles!!

Speeds are down now – in the 8-10 knot range – and this is what we can expect between now and the finish.