Leg 4 Day 14 onboard Team Malizia. Nicolas Lunven on the Nav station.
© Antoine Auriol / Team Malizia / The Ocean Race

Leg 4 Day 14 onboard Team Malizia. Nicolas Lunven on the Nav station. © Antoine Auriol / Team Malizia / The Ocean Race

The Ocean Race: battling towards the finish


07/05/2023 - 16:57

The competition level is high as 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia duel towards the finish. 

"11th Hour Racing Team is just a few miles away and we're doing everything we can to get ahead of them," said Malizia skipper Will Harris. "The fight is still on. It's been an intense fight for the last six days or so - really intense racing...

"We're very motivated to keep pushing to the end and that's what this race is about sometimes, just pushing a bit more. We're going to give it everything we've got to beat them to Newport."

His counterpart on 11th Hour Racing Team, Charlie Enright, is up for the challenge. 

"As we've seen in the last couple of days, the advantage goes back and forth very quickly," he said. "It looks very complicated (the approach to Newport). We go upwind, there's a lot of pressure, some circulation in the Gulf Stream. After that it's a real dog's breakfast with a bunch of stuff we'll have to deal with, but we'll deal with it and figure it out.

"It's hard to believe that with less than a thousand miles to go we still have about three days of racing, but that's the way the cookie crumbles."

The ETA for the leading pair is trending towards 0400 local time in Newport on Wednesday morning (0800 UTC). But as Charlie indicated, there is still some uncertainty in the models and complications in the choices available to Malizia and 11th Hour Racing Team which could push this slightly in either direction. 

Early on Sunday afternoon, 11th Hour Racing Team made a tack to the west that can only be considered a tactical option to positing the boat better for the weather to come, as it meant sailing slightly south of west, costing miles towards Newport.

As the American boat crossed just one mile ahead of Team Malizia, Harris elected to follow on the same line. The race for the lead couldn't be closer. The pressure on these crews to sail at maximum potential isn't going to ease.

Some 8 hours behind the leading pair, Biotherm continues to fight through some light weather. 

"We just haven't got much wind," said Alan Roberts, poking his head on deck, with a glassy sea state all around. "We just passed a little front and now we have quite light winds. We need to get into the northwesterly breeze to keep moving, but it's quite tricky."

Meanwhile, on Guyot envrionnement - Team Europe, Seb Simon celebrated his birthday, complete with candle and cake and calls home.

"It's a real pleasure to have everyone think about me... all the little things people have done for me today, I'm very happy, thank you," he said. 

What will make him happiest of all is gaining over 50 miles on Biotherm in the past 24 hours. On the 1400 UTC update, the Guyot team was less than 100 miles behind. 

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