The Ocean Race: ‘We’re effectively re-starting the race’ – Team Malizia can ‘fight for the lead’ says Will Harris

The Ocean Race is having a re-start almost three weeks into Leg 3 as competition remains incredibly close, according to Team Malizia’s Will Harris.

Four IMOCAs are separated by just 20 nautical miles and with two weeks of racing to go, excitement at the event is building.

The lighter conditions which have compressed the fleet together have also given the crews time to complete much-needed maintenance and repairs – on boats and people alike.

The boats have converged close to the ice exclusion zone and face a tense period of lighter wind. The calmer conditions offer an opportunity to prepare for future challenges.

The wind is forecast to return on Monday and the ETA for Cape Horn is now March 26/27.

Team Malizia have been tracking at a more northerly route, which has helped them close the gap to Holcim-PRB.

“We have Biotherm just over there and Team Holcim-PRB just down to leeward,” said Harris from the sunshine on deck of Team Malizia. “The wind is coming behind us with these clouds,” he said, pointing behind the boat.

“And if you look in front of us there is nice sunny weather, but that’s the high-pressure up ahead with not much wind. That’s why we’ve all compressed and the fleet has really shrunk down together.

“We’re effectively re-starting the race, which is good and bad. We can fight for the lead, but at the same time, we’ve lost our lead over the ones behind.”

Indeed, Malizia enjoyed a few hours at the top of the leaderboard overnight UTC on Friday night, but in reality, all four teams now have the potential to emerge with the advantage by the time the more typical southern latitude conditions return early in the new week.

Holcim-PRB currently have a perfect record, having won the opening two legs and were first across the scoring gate last Sunday.

“We’ve had some really quite rough conditions over the last few days and it’s coming down now. And now over the next few days, there’s a big list of small jobs to do and to fix fits on the boat, nothing serious,” said Biotherm’s Sam Davies. “And also a list of things we really want to check before the next big weather that we’re going to get when we go towards Cape Horn.”

Charlie Enright, of 11th Hour Racing Team, added: “To be totally honest, the conditions have not been horrible considering what part of the plan we are in.

“And the conditions will only get a little bit more benign in the next 48 hours, so we’ll see some interesting shuffles in the fleet and then after that, it should pick up again and we have you a pretty good charge to Cape Horn.”

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You will be able to watch live coverage from every leg of The Ocean Race 2023 with Eurosport and discovery+.

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