On board 11th Hour Racing Team in moderate conditions during Leg 2 during the final approach to Cape Town ©Amory Ross

On board 11th Hour Racing Team in moderate conditions during Leg 2 during the final approach to Cape Town ©Amory Ross

The Ocean Race: a dogfight to the finish in Cape Town


11/02/2023 - 14:48

With just 250 nautical miles left to race (as of noon UTC on Saturday) the results of Leg 2 remain as uncertain as ever with the top four boats within just five miles on the advantage line, as they race in light, flukey, changeable conditions. And the fifth placed boat remains the fastest in the fleet having made up over 400 miles in the past two days!

The reason for the close racing is a ridge of high pressure which is bringing sunshine and hot temperatures to Cape Town. What it isn't bringing is wind.

"It looks like we're sailing on a lake at the moment," said Will Harris from Team Malizia on Saturday. "You wouldn't believe we're 300 miles south of Cape Town at nearly 40-degrees south latitude.. Flat water, 10 knots of wind..."

The teams have to push through this windless void to reach Cape Town and the slow speeds have seen the fleet compress to - in some cases - within shouting distance of each other. All this after 4500 nautical miles of racing.

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

The crew on 11th Hour Racing Team - the nominal leader on the race rankings today - would seem to agree (perhaps no surprise as these two boats are so close they appear as one on the tracker: "When Si Fi (Simon Fisher) runs fleet projections, in other words simulates where each boat will go based on optimum courses for the weather they have wherever on the map they are, we all arrive at the finish together. So, while we’ve worked hard to get ourselves in a safer position and worked hard to stay in front of Holcim, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the next 24 hours," writes Amory Ross.

"In Top Gun you would call this a dogfight, a finish like this, no?!?" said Kevin Escoffier, the skipper of Team Holcim - PRB.

Call it what you want, there is an exciting, close finish on the horizon over the next 24 hours in Leg 2 of The Ocean Race. 

Cape Town - a host city in 12 of 14 editions of The Ocean Race - is primed and ready to receive the fleet in whatever order they arrive.


Leg Two Rankings at 1200 UTC - 11 February 2023

1. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to finish, 256.9 miles 
2. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to lead, 0.1 miles
3. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 1.2 miles
4. Biotherm, distance to lead, 4.4 miles
5. Guyot environnement - Team Europe, distance to lead, 65.4 miles

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