THE 50th JUBILEE EDITION
The 14th edition of The Ocean Race, the fully-crewed, around the world yacht race, started from Alicante, Spain on Sunday.
As The Ocean Race celebrates its 50th jubilee anniversary, a fleet consisting of the best sailors in the world set off on what is widely considered to be the toughest test of a team in sport.
Five IMOCA class yachts – the high-tech, foiling, flying race boats that are in The Ocean Race for the first time – started in glamour conditions on the waters off Alicante’s Ocean Live Park just after 16:00 local time.
Two hours earlier, a fleet of six VO65 one-design yachts set off on the first stage of their shorter, European-focussed event, The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint, which features three stages of competition.
While both fleets are now racing to Cabo Verde, some 1900 nautical miles away, the IMOCAs continue their race around the world, while the VO65s will pause in Cabo Verde, before rejoining the IMOCA fleet in Europe in the spring for the final two legs of their race.
All the sailors were farewelled by over 110,000 exuberant fans who visited the park this weekend to enjoy The Ocean Race experience, which included activations around the event’s award-winning Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, developed in collaboration with founding partner 11th Hour Racing.
Alicante Ocean Live Park Saturday’s attendance count of over 60,400 visitors was a record-breaking day in five editions of race starts in Alicante.
While the Alicante start period featured perfect January weather with warm temperatures under sunny skies, the sailors are expecting gale force westerlies to build overnight, with a heavy sea state making the passage to Gibraltar and the trade winds in the Atlantic a treacherous one.
IMOCAs set off around the world in perfect racing conditions
With the weak weather front having passed through the race area earlier in the afternoon, the wind conditions settled at WNW 12-14 knots for the start of the five IMOCAs.
Nevertheless, as the race got under way two hours after the start of the VO65s, it was clear from the aerial view that there were still some shifts and puffs to be had.
On the water and as the start gun went it was Paul Meilhat’s brand new Biotherm (FRA) that was to set the pace, on time, at speed and on the foils. It was an impressive display, not least because last week was the first time that this crew had sailed together aboard a boat that has only recently been launched.
After a few unstable moments on the fast reach to the first mark, when the boat leaped into the air, it was clear that while the French team were fast they were not yet properly trimmed.
Behind them, hot on their heels, Kevin Escoffier’s Team Holcim-PRB (SUI) was also leaping into the air from time to time as both boats set a blistering pace.
The second leg of the inshore lap saw the fleet sail downwind. With the boats now under less load, teams were able to re-trim and re-set before the next fast leg. Seconds after Biotherm had rounded mark 3 it was clear that they had made some essential trim changes.
This time the boat was faster and better trimmed as Biotherm accelerated away on the third leg and extended their advantage over the rest of the fleet.
Meanwhile, after a disappointing start, 11th Hour Racing Team (USA) skippered by Charlie Enright hauled themselves back from last to third. Experience was showing already from a team that many have considered as the favourites.
As 11th Hour Racing Team made their charge towards the front of the fleet, Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia (GER) had slipped out to the back but were able to pass GUYOT environnement – Team Europe (FRA/GER), skippered by Benjamin Dutreux after the French/German team had a problem with their code zero sail which forced them to press pause as they sorted the issue.
As the leaders passed through the final gate, Biotherm was hitting 29 knots in the flat water. Their advantage had already stretched out to 500m over second placed Holcim-PRB. After just 40 minutes of sailing it was an impressive performance.
Before the start skipper Meilhat had explained how comfortable he and his crew would be with sailing the boat in a manual mode if required. Now, having performed a blistering lap of the inshore course with the tiller in his hand and sailing outside for the entire period, this was a good example of what he had meant.
Others had explained the importance of taking things carefully. But if the inshore lap had revealed anything, boat speeds regularly exceeding 30-knots as the fleet moved away from the shore and into the stronger breeze illustrated what the new world of fully crewed IMOCA racing means along with a demonstration of the relentless pace that is in store for this 3,500 kilometre leg to Cabo Verde.
Rankings at Mark 4
1 – Biotherm Racing (FRA)
2 – Team Holcim – PRB (SUI)
3 – 11th Hour Racing Team (USA)
4 – Team Malizia (GER)
5 – GUYOT environnement – Team Europe (FRA/GER)
VO65 fleet first off the mark
The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint was the first race to get underway in Alicante on Sunday and for the start at 14:05 CET, the breeze was both light and from a different direction than had been originally anticipated making the first stage an upwind leg rather than a reach.
Of the six boats, it was WindWhisper Racing Team (POL) skippered by Pablo Arrarte that made the best of the opening minutes. Starting at the outer end of the line proved to be a winning move ahead of a drop in the wind speed but more importantly a shift in the wind direction.
From there and for the next hour, the Polish team read the shifting conditions perfectly to lead the fleet around the entire rectangular course.
Behind them Team Jajao (NED) skippered by Jelmer van Beek also delivered a confident start to their race, while Rokas Milevičius’ Ambersail 2 (LUI) sat in third.
By the time the five leg lap of the bay had been completed the breeze had settled down, as had the leaderboard – for now.
With a forecast for complex, changeable conditions along with the threat of some big winds and steep seas to match, no one was taking anything for granted.
Mark 5 positions
1 – WindWhisper Racing Team (POL)
2 – Team JAJO (NED)
3 – Ambersail 2 (LUI)
4 – Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team (POR)
5 – Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova (AUT/ITA)
6 – Viva México (MEX)
The start date for leg one of The Ocean Race 2022-23 – both IMOCA and VO65 fleets took place from the starting blocks on Sunday, 15 January 2023 from Alicante on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.
The start of leg one has seen the fleets racing away on one of the greatest challenges in sailing and the toughest test of a team in sport – over 31,000 nautical miles (57,000 km) around the planet.
“This marks a change for The Ocean Race, as we adjust to the challenges of this new world with a more compact and exciting race route than ever before,”
said Johan Salén, Managing Director of The Ocean Race.
“We are pleased to have been able to work with our partners in Alicante, which has been the home of the Race since 2009, to agree on a start date for leg one that takes advantage of the Christmas and New Year holiday season and allows for maximum stakeholder opportunities in the week leading up to the start as well.”
The opening leg of the Race will see both fleets racing for nearly one week to a finish in Cabo Verde. It will be the very first time The Ocean Race has stopped in the African island chain.
From there the race proceeds to Cape Town, South Africa, before starting the longest and most challenging leg in the history of the Race – nearly 13,000 nautical miles direct through the Southern Ocean and past the three great southern Capes (Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn) before a finish in Itajaí, Brazil.
The Race then goes to Newport, Rhode Island in the USA; Aarhus, Denmark; The Hague in The Netherlands; and on to a Grand Finale finish in the Mediterranean in Genova, Italy in the summer of 2023.
Stopover dates announced for The Ocean Race 2022-23
Dates for all eight stopovers, as well as a new Fly-By past Kiel, Germany,for 14th edition of The Ocean Race
The Ocean Race 2022-23 will visit nine iconic international cities over a six-month period, with leg one starting from Alicante, Spain, on 15 January 2023.
The start of the 14th edition of The Ocean Race, took place early in the new year, following the Reyes holiday period in Spain, and seeing the two racing fleets (the foiling IMOCAs and one-design VO65s) depart on a 32,000 nautical mile (60,000 km) race around the world in separate divisions.
“The updated course and schedule for The Ocean Race 2022-23 provides an intense six-months of racing around the world and will challenge the best sailors and teams in a way that only The Ocean Race can do,”
said Phil Lawrence, the Race Director.
“We have added the longest leg in the history of the event – taking the fleet three-quarters of the way around Antarctica – and for the first time, the race will start and finish in the Mediterranean.
“The winners of this edition of The Ocean Race will need to demonstrate elite skill, consistency across all manner of sea conditions, and resilience in the face of the inevitable setbacks. This will be beyond anything they will have encountered in any other sailing.”
The first leg is a 1,900 nautical mile sprint from Alicante to Cabo Verde, the first time the Race has stopped at the African archipelago. Historically, the fleets have sailed past the islands as they head south down the Atlantic. Whilst in Cabo Verde, The Ocean Race will take part in its famed Ocean Week, with a focus on local and international sustainability issues.
Leg 2 will start on 25 January and see the fleets racing across the equator, south to Cape Town, the 12th time the Race has stopped in the southern tip of Africa, making it the most visited stopover in this edition of the event. This will also be the first of three ‘haul-out’ stops, where the boats will be lifted from the water for maintenance.
Next up is a record-breaking leg – the longest racing distance in the 50-year history of the event – a 12,750 nautical mile, one-month marathon to Itajaí, Brazil.
In the finest tradition of The Ocean Race, this leg takes the IMOCA and VO65 sailors down to the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties of the Southern Ocean. Antarctica is to the right and the fleet will need to pass all three great southern Capes – the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin, and Cape Horn – to port, without stopping, for the first time.
There will be another extended, haul-out stopover in Itajaí, Brazil, following this epic southern leg before racing resumes heading north,through the doldrums, across the equator and up to Newport, Rhode Island, on the east coast of the United States.
From there, the Race returns to Europe, with a transatlantic leg to Aarhus, Denmark, followed by a Fly-By of Kiel, Germany, en route to a stop in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Then, it’s the final offshore leg – the Grand Finale – to Genova, Italy, for a Mediterranean finish to the race.
The Ocean Race 2022-23 – Race Schedule
Alicante, Spain – Leg 1 start: 15 January 2023
Cabo Verde – ETA: 22 January; Leg 2 start: 25 January
Cape Town, South Africa – ETA: 9 February; Leg 3 start: 26/27 February (TBC)
Itajaí, Brazil – ETA: 1 April; Leg 4 start: 23 April
Newport, RI, USA – ETA: 10 May; Leg 5 start: 21 May
Aarhus, Denmark – ETA: 30 May; Leg 6 start: 8 June
Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) – 9 June
The Hague, The Netherlands – ETA: 11 June; Leg 7 start: 15 June
Genova, Italy – The Grand Finale – ETA: 25 June, 2023; Final In-Port Race: 1 July, 2023
There will be in-port races in the days before the leg start in Alicante, Cape Town, Itajaí, Newport, Aarhus, The Hague and Genova. The in-port racing will be scored as a separate series for each fleet, with the result acting as a tie-breaker in the overall race.
The Kiel Fly-By is a new addition to the race course. The race was last in Germany for the finish of the 2001-02 edition, won by the German team, illbruck. Now, in this 14th edition, two German IMOCA teams have their sights set on the race – Offshore Team Germany and Team Malizia.
“It’s fantastic to have Kiel added as a Fly-By to what was already an iconic race route,”
said Robert Stanjek, who skippered Offshore Team Germany to victory in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe this past spring.
“This upcoming edition of The Ocean Race is shaping up as an incredible challenge and the opportunity to sail past a home crowd in Kiel as we near the end of our race around the world is a dream come true.”
There were Prologue racing for both IMOCA and VO65 fleets scheduled in the second half of 2022. Both fleets assembled in Alicante during the holiday period at the end of 2022, ahead of the leg one start dated on 15 January, 2023.
The Ocean Race aims to slash its emissions by up to 75%. All participants in the 14th edition of the round-the-world sailing race are working together to make the event climate positive.
The Ocean Race is aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by up to 75% for the 2022-23 Race, compared with the previous edition, and working with sailing teams, host cities, partners and suppliers in a shared ambition to slash their GHGs and hold a climate positive event.
Every element of the round-the-world sailing event has been examined to understand its GHG impacts and how they can be reduced. The Race is aiming to cut emissions through a number of measures, including using significantly fewer shipping containers used to deliver the global event, reducing the number of staff travelling internationally, careful management of resources such as materials, food, waste and water, as well as aiming to power the event sites with 100% renewable energy. The Race will now take place over six months, compared with nine months for the previous edition, which will also reduce the overall impact.
In parallel, the Race is collaborating with its race teams, host cities and partners to collectively estimate, reduce and carefully account for their race-related GHGs. Logistics partner GAC Pindar and hospitality agency ATPI are working closely with The Ocean Race to create new systems to accurately track and report the GHG impacts of logistics and guests, with automated systems simplifying data management for the Race.
To achieve the ambitious goal of making the event climate positive (drawing down more GHGs than are produced), the Race will invest in ocean projects that, on behalf of the Race and stakeholders, will restore vital marine habitats while also sequestering carbon. These ‘blue carbon’ initiatives, in which mangroves are protected from deforestation or actively regenerated, are at carefully chosen sites around the world. Healthy mangrove ecosystems can lock away carbon, protect coastlines, provide important habitats for wildlife and support local communities.
Meegan Jones, Sustainability Advisor for The Ocean Race said:
“Sport has the power to inspire and accelerate action and nowhere is this more important than in the race against climate change. We’re drastically cutting emissions compared with the last Race in 2017-18, but creating a climate positive event can only happen with the support and input of every organisation that the Race touches. While some event organisers offset their partners’ emissions we believe that the responsibility should be on everyone involved to play their part. By doing this we don’t just reduce the impact of a single event, but help to create change throughout the industry.”
The Ocean Race is bringing together all of the stakeholders involved in the next edition of the event, which starts in Alicante, Spain, on 15th January 2023, to drive solutions. This includes 11th Hour Racing, a Premier Partner of The Ocean Race and founding partner of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, global logistics partner GAC Pindar (part of the GAC Group), IMOCA, which is one of the two boat classes that will form the fleet, the race teams, hospitality agency ATPI, official clothing supplier Helly Hansen, and the nine cities that host the event across the globe. The group is supported by technical experts including Verra, who manages the world’s leading carbon standard (VCS Standard) and IOC UNESCO, the United Nations body responsible for supporting global ocean science.
Some of the key activities that underpin the event’s climate positive ambition include:
– Commitments from Race teams and partners to cut their race-related GHGs, alongside their continued efforts to accelerate reductions throughout their own supply chains
– Aiming to power the race villages around the world, known as Ocean Live Park, by 100% renewable energy
– Achieving a climate positive Guest Experience, with automatic enrolment into the programme for all guests
The work to make the next edition of the Race climate positive is part of the ambitious Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, co-created with 11th Hour Racing. The programme extends beyond both hosting a sustainable event and the immediate touchpoints of the Race and seeks to inspire new audiences, from schoolchildren to policy-makers, to take action to protect the ocean and climate. It also supports ocean research through an innovative science programme in which vital data about the state of the seas is collected by boats as they race across the planet.
How to follow The Ocean Race 2022-23
No other sporting event gets its fans as close to the action as The Ocean Race and there are multiple ways you can follow the competition throughout the six month event.
Eurosport / Eurosport Player / Discovery+ platform (check local listings for local timings)
Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican
Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, Greenland, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, Macao, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, The British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, Turk & Caicos.
Middle East / Africa.
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahrein, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo (the Democratic Republic of the), Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Gaza Strip, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Reunion, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, St Helena and Ascension,Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, West Bank, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
Follow the action
TheOceanRace.com and its social platforms @theoceanrace
Streaming & Broadcast TV
Warner Bros. Discovery is The Ocean Race’s live broadcast and news distribution partner and fans will be able to watch live coverage from every leg of the Ocean Race 2022-23 with Eurosport and Discovery+, including:
– Eurosport TV channels
Live coverage of leg starts, the Grand Finale arrivals in Genova, as well as the In Port racing in Alicante and Genova
– Eurosport player and on Discovery+
Streaming live coverage of all leg starts and finishes as well as every in-port race
– Eurosport linear channels (free to air locally), Eurosport player and Discovery+
A highlight show summing up the action on each of the offshore legs (two shows for the five-week third leg from South Africa to Brazil).
Regular feature-length shows about life on board The Ocean Race boats will be available throughout the six months of the race
– Warner Bros. Discovery and Eurosport social media channels News and other updates will also be posted regularly
THE OCEAN RACE – 14th EDITION