Ocean Race: Leg 3. Squalls and big waves in Cabo de Hornos

Nautical Channel
27 Mar 2023
NEWS | Sailing, Sport

Throughout all editions of The Ocean Race, the participants consider the crossing between Cape Town and Cape Horn (the Southern Ocean leg) to be the greatest challenge of this global regatta.

Cape Horn is usually the site of one big squall after another, and these hurricane-force winds often produce big waves that are terrifying for all sailors.

Biotherm, Malizia, Holcim-PRB and Hour Racing Team competing among waves over 6 meters high.

Biotherm, Malizia, Holcim-PRB and Hour Racing Team racing in waves of more than 40 miles to the south at the start of the weekend on Friday. However, miles behind Malizia and the 11th Hour Racing team were neck and neck. Throughout Saturday, Team Malizia had a 10-mile lead over Team Holcim-PRB, who were 50 miles behind the trailing boats.

Conditions intensified on Saturday with winds of 35-45 knots (65-85km/h) and waves reaching 6-7 meters. These challenging conditions allowed an even bigger gap to open up between the leading and trailing boats. On Saturday, the distance from first to fourth was extended by 100 nautical miles.

After suffering these conditions for most of the weekend, especially throughout Saturday. On Sunday, they began to moderate gradually as the IMOCA boats moved deeper into Cape Horn and away from the icy zone full of ice and icebergs. Even so, navigation on board is difficult due to all the movement of the boats. Nevertheless, compared to Saturday, the sailors felt a bit more relieved and calm.

Particularly tough days for 11th Hour Racing team

Throughout this difficult weekend, one of the teams that has suffered the most setbacks has been 11th Hour Racing. This is noticeable in the rankings as they find themselves at the back of the fleet positioned further west and now at a distance of more than 200 nautical miles from the leader who is close to South America.  

This delay is mostly due to the fact that they had problems with the mainsail and that is why they sailed much slower compared to the other rivals. We recall that on Friday 11th Hour Racing team was about 50 miles away and has finished at more than 200mn so the difference in speed in navigation has been decisive.

Current positions 

Right now, the positions are as follows. After Team Malizia's spectacular comeback, they are still in the lead, very close to Holcim-PRB. Far behind, 200 miles behind, are the last two, Biotherm and still 30 miles behind, 11th Hour Racing.

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