The fleet flies towards Aarhus at a record pace

Three of the four boats that are in contention in this Stage 5 of The Ocean Race They are sailing at a record pace. Less than four days ago they set course, from Newport, towards Aarhus (Denmark) and the 11th Hour Racing Team is taking charge of imposing a vertiginous rhythm. Charlie Enright’s ship is the one at the head of the fleet and already has logged a stretch of more than 550 miles in the last 24 hours, a number that is increasing by the hour.

The next 24 hours in The Ocean Race seem hectic and it is that the top three, 11th Hour Racing Team, Holcim-PRB and Malizia, are set to encounter strong downwind conditions and “relatively” flat water, a combination that could produce a new 24-hour distance record. “We have a lot of wind, there is a little more pressure than expected and there is still some wave, but we have crossed the front first, which seems to be an advantage. We just did 31 knots on average in the last 10 minutes, so almost nothing,” commented 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright.

The fleet is facing a full-speed endurance test, with limited tactical opportunities. “We are now facing a pure speed course, not a strategic one. As we get closer to Aarhus it will become more of a coastal race with more strategic options”, warned Yann Eliès from Team Malizia.

Antoine Auriol / Team Malizia / The Ocean Race

As for the regatta, The Ocean Race meteorologist Christian Dumard explained that “the first three boats sail with strong southerly winds surrounded by an anticyclone, while Biotherm (fourth) could not cross the front and is close-hauled. For the leaders, the wind could still be quite strong until Friday, before it moves to the northwest. Dumard added that the current forecast is for light winds near the finish, which could spell big changes for the leaders.

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The Biotherm, which is last, is not living a simple stage. He is almost 260 miles (481 kilometers) from the leader and he had to deal with some problems such as a broken sail cleat: “For us it has been difficult, we got stuck behind the fleet with the light winds coming out of Newport and since then we have had several technical problems on board: the autopilot and our electronics”, detailed Alan Roberts from the Biotherm. Those lost hours and miles are compounding as she is on the unfavorable side of the front and continues to upwind. “The state of the sea has been quite complicated, so we had to go back… It is what it is. The only thing we can do is keep moving forward as quickly as possible with the conditions we have.Roberts finished.

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