With Leg 2 of The Ocean Race starting today, we take a look back at a thrilling first leg from Alicante to Cabo Verde. The IMOCA fleet heads south for the Cape Town stop-over, a firm favourite of The Ocean Race.
Leg 1 of The Ocean Race was described by Charlie Enright of 11th Hour Racing Team as a ‘baptism of fire’, after multiple reports of damage sustained by boats across the fleet. “That was an incredibly tough first leg,” he said. “Tough on the boats, and physically tough on the crew. Nothing we haven’t seen in training, so it didn’t come as a surprise, but it is no surprise that with a forecast like that, you end up with damage to the boats, but now we are here, we can turn our minds to the repairs.”
Kevin Escoffier’s Holcim-PRB finished first in the IMOCA class, and Windwhisper Racing Team, skippered by Pablo Arrarte, won Stage 1 of The Ocean Race Sprint.
Leg 1 Gallery
We’ve selected a few of our favourite pics of leg 1 below.
What can the crews expect on Leg 2 to Cape Town?
The solid trade wind action in Cabo Verde is now gone, bringing a light NE wind of 5 to 8 knots. The weakening trade winds are likely to impact the fleet all the way down to the doldrums.
“First we’ll have to manage the windshadow from the islands as they are so tall and the wind is light,” said Robert Stanjek, the skipper of GUYOT environnement – Team Europe.
“It looks like we need to get west to be efficient for passing through the doldrums. That’s the conservative option. So that’s the first days.”
“With the trade winds sort of breaking down, the doldrums get a bit bigger,” said 11th Hour Racing Team’s Simon Fisher. “It’s three or four days to get down there and the trades should be rebuilding again. Getting out of here and picking up the beginning of the rebuild efficiently is quite important.”
Getting going again
Start time for Leg 2 is 1710 local time (1810 UTC) which is about 90-minutes before sunset, so the crews will be into that first night watch nearly immediately.
But with all of the transitions involved in the first few days, there are likely to be many manoeuvres, and rest will be hard to find.
“The first part of the race is going to be super tactical and there will be a lot of opportunities so we’ll all need to be very switched on right from the word go,” said Will Harris, who will be skipper on Team Malizia for leg two.
Four of the five teams have made crew substitutions, with Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm the only team planning to start with the same lineup.
“I think it’s important for us to have the same crew because we have so many things to learn,” Meilhat said. “If we change the minimum of settings, in this case that includes the people, it is easier to see the impacts and to learn.”
For leg one winner Kevin Escoffier on Holcim-PRB, it is a matter of continuing to do the things that pushed his team to get the most out of the boat en route to a victory.
“We’ve known for a while that the boat is quite fast, or at least competitive with the other boats,” Escoffier said. “The main thing is that I am really happy with the crew. For us it was the first time we were sailing offshore together. We had a lot of fun on board. It was a very good mood. At the same time we had a good result. But it was the first one. It doesn’t mean anything. There is plenty still to come and we are focussing on the next one.”
How to watch the start of Leg 2
Leg 2 of The Ocean Race is scheduled to start at 1810 UTC (1710 local time in Cabo Verde) on Wednesday afternoon and live coverage in many territories shifts to Eurosport and Discovery+.
In most of Europe and many parts of Asia, you can watch the start live on Eurosport or Eurosport 1 beginning at 1730 UTC, and live or on demand on the Eurosport Player or Discovery+.
In Germany, fans of Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia can also watch delayed coverage on ZDF (please check local listings).
In other territories the live start will be available on The Ocean Race YouTube channel. (But please note that due to coverage on Eurosport platforms, this YouTube stream will be geoblocked in Europe and Asian territories with Eurosport coverage).
In Cabo Verde and Portugal, the live start will also be available live on RTP Africa
Follow the Cape Town stopover Instagram account for updates on the arrival of the fleet.