Jan 24, 2023
Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Verde is now complete. All the boats, both IMOCA and VO65 have reached their destination, between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
In the VO65 class, Pablo Arrarte, one of the most solid veterans of The Ocean Race, has led his team to victory in the first leg of The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint. The team had to fight hard in the first 48 hours of the leg to escape the brutal conditions in the Mediterranean with a lead that they were able to extend and protect in the fast, downwind conditions of the Atlantic. WindWhisper crossed the finish line at 14:11:14 UTC with a total time of 6 days, 1 hour, 11 minutes and 14 seconds. "We had a good plan and we were able to execute it. Getting out of the Mediterranean in one piece without breaking the boat was a challenge. We knew that leaving Gibraltar in the lead would make it easier to stay at the front of the fleet. I'm glad we had this group, we really enjoyed it," said Pablo Arrate.
Dutch Team JAJO took a solid second place in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint, behind Poland's WindWhisper Racing Team, who had capped an impressive VO65 class win on Saturday. "We had some problems in the first part of the leg and couldn't keep up with the others, but when we left Gibraltar we got better and better, the sail changes were better and we sailed with more precision," said van Beek. "We can always find a bit more speed and be a bit faster, but we are happy with a second place. It's very nice to be here in Cape Verde already."
With the top two positions decided, it looked like the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team would take third place. But as the team approached Mindelo, they announced they would withdraw from Leg One after missing a course buoy in the Strait of Gibraltar. The withdrawal opened the door to the podium for Austrian Ocean Racing Powered by Team Genoa, who were the last team to enter The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint and arrived at the start port of Alicante just days before the start of the event.
The fourth VO65 to finish was Lithuanian-flagged Ambersail 2, which arrived on Sunday morning. That leaves Viva Mexico as the only team still sailing, still 600 miles from Cape Verde after stopping in the Spanish port of Almeria to change their mainsail after it broke.
In the IMOCA class, French skipper Kevin Escoffier led Swiss flagged Team Holcim-PRB to victory on the first leg of The Ocean Race 2022-23 in the early hours of Saturday morning. His victory was the end of an intense and challenging start, which featured everything from tough upwind legs against stormy winds in the Mediterranean, to fast downwind runs in the Atlantic and a variety of tactical options around the Canary Islands.