© Alexander Champy - Mclean / The Ocean Race
Team Europe arrives in Itajaí to rejoin the fleet for Leg 4 and onwards
Guyot environnement – Team Europe’s IMOCA has arrived in the Brazilian city of Itajaí after a two-week, 3,500-nautical mile (nm) / 4,000-mile / 6,500-kilometre (km) delivery trip across the South Atlantic Ocean from Cape Town, South Africa.
The European team – led by Benjamin Dutreux (FRA) and Robert Stanjek (GER) – was forced out of the third leg of The Ocean Race 2022-23 after discovering delamination to the bottom of the hull of the 2015-built yacht, three days after the start of the double points 12,750-nm (14,672-mi / 23,613-km) Southern Ocean passage.
After arriving back in Cape Town four days later the team made a full assessment of the damage before embarking on a painstaking repair operation to put the boat back in full racing trim.
On March 16, an all-French delivery crew – led by Guyot environnement – Team Europe crewmember Sébastien Simon, with shore team members Phillip Kasüske, Jimmy Le Baut, Clovis Gautier, as well as the team’s onboard reporter Charles Drapeau – set off from Cape Town to deliver the boat across the South Atlantic to Itajaí.
Despite the setback of missing leg three the team are in good spirits and committed to rejoining the race for the fourth leg from Itajaí to the United States city of Newport, Rhode Island – which starts on April 23.
French skipper Benjamin Dutreux was on hand to greet the delivery crew as they sailed into the mouth of the Itajaí-Açu river at 18:30 local time / 21:30 UTC, after 14 days at sea.
“It’s exciting to welcome the boat here in Itajaí, a stopover that delivers in terms of a public warm welcome. We had to retire from the last leg but not from the race. We now have a long list of tasks to do for the last half of the race. I know we’re rejoining the competition in good shape and I’m happy because we are here at the same time as the other boats arrive. We have time to do a good job on board and also to look into details we never have time to do and hope this will put us back in the game. We’re very proud of the team and our sponsors for the support”, said Benjamin Dutreux.
The European IMOCA’s arrival in Brazil comes just a few days ahead of the four teams still racing – Team Malizia (GER), Team Holcim–PRB (SUI), Biotherm (FRA), and 11th Hour Racing Team (USA).
After more than four weeks spent battling each other through the Southern Ocean, all four crews have rounded Cape Horn and are heading north towards the finish line off Itajaí.
The latest ETA calculations predict the leading teams to arrive on Sunday 2nd April and into Monday 3rd April.