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Leg 6 Begins In Fickle Wind


  • Leg 6 Begins In Fickle Wind

    Aarhus start - IMOCAs are underway in very light conditions - VO65s racing to The Hague

    1850 local / 1650 UTC: According to the Race Committee there is 'zero' wind on the race course area at the moment. Therefore the second lap is cancelled and teams will be required to pass through the start line and the 'gate' between marks 1 and 2 before they are free to proceed onwards to Kiel.

    1830 local / 1630 UTC: It's slow but steady progress for 11th Hour Racing Team leading at mark 2 with Biotherm and Team Holcim-PRB completing the top 3. Malizia and GUYOT next...

    1825 local / 1625 UTC: It's not a fast start here for the IMOCA fleet. After 10 minutes, the leading boat, 11th Hour Racing Team, is yet to reach mark 1. It's Charlie Enright's team in the lead. Biotherm is well to leeward and may be in second place, but Team Holcim-PRB to windward is potentially in a stronger position. Malizia has already rolled past GUYOT environnement - Team Europe after re-starting.

    1815 local / 1615 UTC: At the start it is FULL ON!! It's Team Malizia pushed over the line by Team Holcim-PRB who dove below to get a 'hook' and pushed them over the line early. It's Biotherm, 11th Hour Racing Team and Holcim-PRB looking strong early.

    1814 local / 1614 UTC: "The breeze is dying. We had the thermal breeze from the south this afternoon and it's in transition to the northerly now," said Yoann Richomme on Team Holcim-PRB in the moments leading up the start.

    1805 local / 1605 UTC: It's looking very, very light on the water now. The wind has dropped nearly completely... It's looking to be a slow start for the IMOCA fleet.

    1745 local time / 1545 UTC: The wind is dropping slightly on the race course as the IMOCA fleet prepares for its start in 30 minutes at 1815 local time. The Race Committee is reporting wind in the 5 to 7 knot range at the moment.

    1700 local / 1500 UTC: VO65 Sprint - start report

    Having dominated both previous in port races the pressure was on Pablo Arrarte’s WindWhisper Racing Team (POL) to deliver a repeat performance for the opening stage of leg 6.

    In contrast to the super light conditions earlier in the week when they last raced, the breeze was 10 knots across the course.

    At the start, WindWhisper Racing Team jumped the gun and were forced to return back to re-start. Gerwin Jansen’s Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova (AUT/ITA) were penalised for an infringement at the start and had to take a penalty turn.

    This left Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team (DEN) and Team JAJO (NED) to lead the field along the first leg with Viva Mexico (MEX) in third.

    At the first mark it was Team JAJO that rounded ahead with Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team close on their stern.

    After the first of two laps around the rectangular format course the order remained the same with Team JAJO leading the field as the distances between each were starting to stretch out.

    After the second lap and as the fleet headed off to the northeast on the start of the offshore leg, it was Team JAJO that had not only held onto their lead but extended it to more than 400m.

    Behind them the competition was close with Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team in second, Viva Mexico in third with WindWhisper Racing Team nipping at their heels in fourth and Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova in fifth as the fleet passed through the final inshore gate.

    From there it was north into the late afternoon sun.

    1648 local / 1448 UTC: As the VO65s approach the leaving gate for Stage 2 of The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint it's Team JAJO leading the fleet, with Mirpuri/Trifork in second and Viva Mexico working to hard to fend off WindWhisper Racing. Austrian Ocean Racing-Genova is trailing after a pre-start penalty. As the boats head out to sea, the ETA in The Hague is 11 June...

    1630 local / 1430 UTC: After one lap of the race course, Team JAJO has managed to extend away slightly from Mirpuri/Trifork Racing, with Viva Mexico sliding back slightly and giving WindWhisper some hope of moving into the top three. Austrian Ocean Racing / Genova pushing to recover from their penalty turn.

    1617 local / 1417 UTC: Very close at the first mark, with Team JAJO just holding off Mirpuri/Trifork Racing and Viva Mexico right behind. Then further back it's WindWhisper followed by Austrian Ocean Racing/Genova...

    1610 local / 1410 UTC: Lots of action at the start, a penalty to Austrian Ocean Racing-Team Genova for infringing on Trifork/Mirpuri and WindWhisper over the line early by just a fraction of a second. But Team JAJO with a fantastic start and Mirpuri/Trifork just behind, with Viva Mexico in third...

    1605 local / 1405 UTC: Into the start sequence for the VO65s... winds are light in the 8 knot range.

    1520 local / 1320 UTC: The VO65s are out in the race course start area, with less than an hour to their 1610 start time. Wind is around 6 to 9 knots. The IMOCA dockout takes place starting at 1630...

    1420 local / 1220 UTC: As the VO65 fleet prepares for dock out, the Race Committee is on station and reporting:
    Wind direction - 150-degrees
    Wind speed - 8 knots

    1320 local / 1120 UTC: Expectations are for a 5 to 7 knot sea breeze today, under clear sunny skies and probably the warmest day in Aarhus so far this year, up to 24-degrees. So it won't be the fastest start, but stronger conditions are forecast for Friday.

    1130 local / 0930 UTC: Leg 6 from Aarhus to the Hague gets underway today with 10 boats in two fleets taking on a tactically complex leg.

    First off will be the VO65s.

    Starting at 1610 local their race begins with laps of the square inshore course in front of what is expected to be a busy spectator fleet before then heading north towards the tip of Denmark. From there, the amended course takes them out to a mid-point in the North Sea before heading back towards the Danish coastline where they will turn south and head towards the finish off the Hague.

    “We have looked carefully at the weather forecasts and have decided to add two virtual marks into the course in order to have the fleet finishing in The Hague on Sunday afternoon,” said Race Director Phil Lawrence.

    IMOCA race to The Hague via the Kiel Fly By

    The IMOCA fleet gets underway at 1815. They too will complete laps of the square inshore course but will then head south for a fly-by in Kiel (ETA Friday afternoon) before then heading back north where they will exit the Baltic. From there, it’s expected to be a brisk reach south to the finish in the Hague (ETA June 11).

    With light winds expected for the start and a forecast for a significant variation in wind direction as well, the opening stage of Leg 6 promises to be challenging for the teams as they try to balance the desire to chase the best breeze, against maintaining the quickest route to Kiel. Local effects and tide will be playing a big part in their tactics as it will for the race management as well.

    “We are looking at achieving a target time for the Kiel fly-by of around 1600 local on Friday 9 June. To achieve this we may be looking at extending the course,” said Race Director Phil Lawrence. “The high performance nature of the IMOCAs means that their speeds can change significantly with small variations in the wind strength, so adjusting the course to make the best of what looks set to be an impressive section of the leg is something we will be watching very closely.”

    Weather forecast

    A high pressure system to the west of Norway that is moving northeast along with a low pressure system south of Sweden looks set to deliver mainly clear skies and a light westerly gradient breeze by midday.

    Overnight and into the early hours of Friday morning the breeze is expected to be a light northwesterly for the IMOCA fleet and a light southwesterly for the VO65.

    During the daytime on 9 June the wind will start to build from the east to 15-20 knots and remain through until the finish on Sunday 11 June where it may become more variable in direction.

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