Speed racers

At the start of Leg 4, The Ocean Race teams are in a pure speed contest, with the five-boat fleet racing within sight of each other.

25 April 2023


It was GUYOT environnement – Team Europe sailor Annie Lush who said the opening days of Leg 4 would be a “trim off” and this is how it has come to pass.

She was referring to the probablity the teams would be closely lined-up, drag racing one boat next to the other. Sail trim and boat speed would be the determining factors.

And over the first 18 hours of racing this has come to pass with the fleet racing east-southeast to get offshore as fast as possible.

Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm held the early lead into this morning, but now it is Team Holcim- PRB who bow forward. But the margins are very thin – on the leaderboard, the spread from first to fifth is just five miles.

The east-northeast wind is fairly light – 8 to 12 knots – and variable with squalls and rain showers. It is forecast to build slightly over the next 24 hours.


“We’ve spent these first hours of the race trying to get to the gradient wind offshore,” said 11th Hour Racing Team’s Simon Fisher, on Sunday evening. “It’s going to be tricky with the clouds.”

“The wind is very shifty,” said Kevin Escoffier on Team Holcim-PRB. “But we have to deal with it. Instead of going for a big bet it is better to play with the small shifts than going for a big change. When you are not sure, it is better to be safe.”

On Team Malizia, navigator Nico Lunven had a scary moment when he was hit by a jib sheet as the fleet sailed away from Itajaí last night. He suffered minor cuts and abrasions to the face. After consultation with the shore-side doctor he is reported to be fit to keep racing and has been taking on his regular duties, including doing his weather routing through the night.

“I feel like a boxer who has lost a match but it is ok,” he said.



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