HomeNEWSThe Ocean Race - From on board 11th Hour Racing Team

The Ocean Race – From on board 11th Hour Racing Team

11th Hour Racing Team on board reporter Amory Ross sets the scene as his team leads the charge west to the Gibraltar Strait…

The opening hours and the first night at sea on Leg 1 from Alicante to Cabo Verde have been tough. After a spectacular start in an offshore breeze that had the IMOCAs hitting 34knots at times as they headed out to sea, the entire fleet sailed into light winds.

For most, the action concertinaed and the race started again. And then the big breeze arrived.

Amory Ross reports from on board 11th Hour Racing Team on a difficult opening phase of the race but one in which they have taken the lead:

After years of preparation, practice and training it always feels good to finally be in the midst of a race. We may be sailing upwind in 32 knots and a miserable sea state at the moment, but it doesn’t sting as much as we’re used to, because we are racing… the
complexion of life onboard alters ever so slightly. Tolerances go up, as does the pressure. And there has been plenty of that in the last 24 hrs, in more ways than one!

A race start is always difficult. All the noise, all the people, all the commitments, it can be difficult to focus. There’s a lot of pressure on the momentous moment, on doing it justice, long before the starting gun ever goes. Then there’s the pressure of the inshore course. These boats aren’t made to do what we did and the goal was to escape unscathed! There is a lot of risk involved with short course sailing at 28 knots dodging and weaving spectators and other foil-bearing IMOCAs!

It was tough to find the first mark and that put us on the back foot in the puffy reach, but we rebounded just fine and did exactly what we needed to do to round Tabarca in first. There is also a lot of pressure at the moment. 30-35 knots from the west, just as the forecast models predicted.

Uncomfortable as it may be, it’s a known entity and it’s keeping us going towards the waypoint that is Gibraltar. There may be some current relief and more northerly winds ashore, but it’s not a risk we are willing to take right now.

Onboard things are in excellent order. Nobody got much sleep last night, nobody has eaten a whole lot, but this short, intense battle to the Strait will be over soon (ETA of course sometime middle of tonight) and then we’ll be out into the Atlantic where the rhythms and routines can take hold.

A huge thank you to Alicante for an amazing few weeks and a spectacular send off, and the same to 11th Hour Racing, all of whom made the trip to Spain to wave us on our merry way!

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