Leg 3 Day 37 on board Biotherm. Skipper Paul Meilhat.
© Ronan Gladu

Leg 3 Day 37 on board Biotherm. Skipper Paul Meilhat. © Ronan Gladu

The Ocean Race: Biotherm battling for third


04/04/2023 - 15:56

The podium battle promises to push the two teams still racing up the coast to the very end with Biotherm and 11th Hour Racing Team racing within less than 15 miles of each other on the leaderboard. 

It's slow but steady progress to the north with Biotherm set up to the west of 11th Hour Racing Team, where skipper Paul Meilhat's team continues to race from a compromised position.

In addition to damage to their foil, the boat is still leaking - taking on water slowly - and now the team reports the hydralic system that moves the keel isn't working, so that becomes a manual procedure. In addition the team has been without wind instruments for over a week.

It's been a long list of challenges to overcome and a remarkable display of fighting spirit to remain in the hunt for the podium, something the Biotherm skipper was quick to acknowledge.

"The wind is quite unstable," Meilhat reports. "(Monday) we weren't on the damaged foil so that was good. But we have been sailing for the last 10 days without the wind sensor and it's been really hard, trying to steer the boat during the night when you can't see the sails.

"But we've been going fast compared to the forecast and we've come back on 11th Hour Racing Team so that's good news. Maybe we can fight for third place. We have hope and hope is an engine for the crew!"

"The water continues to come in to the boat. But not a lot - it's something like 50-100 litres per hour, so it's ok. Monday we had an opportunity to try and fix it a bit more so we are confident.

"It's really hard to say the ETA as the wind is so different from the prediction... We hope to arrive on Wednesday but I don't know when."

Charlie Enright's 11th Hour Racing Team continues the push north to Itajaí with one eye on Biotherm and another on the work list that needs to be completed upon arrival. 

"I'm just doing a bit of a check around the boat. As we sail on the leg we make repairs on board to keep the boat performing well but we also ahve a jobs list for when the boat gets on land..." said Jack Bouttell from on board 11th Hour Racing Team. 

"This was meant to be the longest stopover period for work but we're still at sea so there are a few days less than originally planned, so we're just trying to get a jump on what needs doing..."

"We're locked in a battle with Biotherm here and we're basically bow-even," said Charlie Enright in a boatfeed from Monday. "But there's another race going on as well. The race for our boatyard period. We have a 35 day jobs list that's accumulated over the course of this leg and we have to be prepared when we hit the dock to let the tech team know what they have in store..."

The ETA for arrival is fairly uncertain as neither team appears to be sailing at maximum potential, making accurate weather routing from on shore challenging.

But the latest predictions are for a finish near midday local time in Itajaí on Wednesday 5 April. This could shift in either direction by several hours.

Still to be determined is the order of arrival!!

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