HomeSAILINGThe Ocean Race from on board 11th Hour Racing

The Ocean Race from on board 11th Hour Racing

Update from media man Amory Ross:

Call it a grudge, but after The Ocean Race Europe – a predominantly light air upwind race through the Med – many began to … unfairly … compare the IMOCA class to the VO65s.

It’s hard to compete with narrower hulls and longer waterlines, taller rigs, and daggerboards you can pull all the way up in those conditions. They are apples to oranges, designed to do things differently, and the last 36 hrs has displayed just how different these boats are. Last night was radical. The up-range reaching, downwind conditions highlight the effectiveness of the foils and we were quick to leg out.

We were also pretty motivated not to let Holcim-PRB got too bow forward. I can’t speak for them, but I know we are pushing. But we are pushing smartly.

Example. It’s 2am and we’re rightfully anxious to get off our storm jib and back into trusty-J2 conditions. I think we subconsciously feel handicapped with the S4 (storm jib) against the bigger J3 that the rest of the fleet would likely have up. As the wind speeds trended down, the call was made to go back to the J2 … even after a midnight sched that showed us as the fastest of the fleet. We peel to the J2 and things are fine for a bit but soon we are borderline out of control. It’s still kind of manageable but alarms are going off and we’re redlining. Maybe later in the leg, or later in the race, we hold. Not now. It was an easy call to go back to the baby S4, where we can push comfortably. We’re fast enough to be in the game, so protect the asset and take the battle another day.

Sunrise today brings slightly lower windspeeds, 23 knots, and slightly deeper angles. Now we’re running southeast and set up exactly where we want to be, offshore of the inshore boat and bow even. If it heads, Holcim sails closer to land where winds may be lighter, and if it lifts, we gain.

I’m proud of the group. Alicante was super busy but we made a plan and so far we are executing conservatively, and quickly.

And a happy birthday to Jack! (Jack Boutell)… We’ll use his extra year of wisdom wisely 🙂

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