Returning to The Ocean Race in Brazil >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

(March 16, 2023; Day 19) – The repair of the IMOCA GUYOT environnement – Team Europe is complete with the team on schedule to return to The Ocean Race for Leg 4.

Since dropping out of Leg 3 due to a delaminated area on the port side of the hull, their return to Cape Town on March 4 was followed by a successful repair. The boat was craned back into the water on March 13, and after the mast was set and some tests were carried out on the water, the delivery crew set out today across the South Atlantic for the next race port of Itajaí, Brazil.

The passage for Sébastien Simon, Phillip Kasüske, Jimmy le Baut, and Clovis Gautier as well as onboard reporter Charles Drapeau is calculated at 4500 nautical miles of distance in a northerly route around the St Helena High. The predicted arrival is on March 30. In Itajaí, the European team plans to rejoin The Ocean Race and compete in the fourth leg of the world race, which starts on April 23.

For Phillip Kasüske, the start of the transfer marks his return on board. The 28-year-old from Berlin had taken a scheduled break for the third leg. After the abandonment of the leg and the repair, the crew planning will be rearranged for the further legs.

“For the next leg from Itajaí to Newport, we want to sail with the same crew as on Leg 3 – i.e. with Benjamin Dutreux, Robert Stanjek, Sébastien Simon, and Annie Lush. I am sure that the team will be highly motivated. In the meantime, I’ll help where I can and then get back into the race in Newport.”

Looking back at the repairs that have been made, Kasüske is impressed and expectant for the rest of The Ocean Race: “The shore crew did an insanely good job to get the boat back in shape so quickly. From Brazil on, we can fully attack. On the passage we will of course sail very carefully and double and triple test the whole boat. In Itajaí there will be time to make optimizations. The race is not even half over yet.”

The transfer crew will be scrutinizing the yacht as it crosses the Atlantic, which is why two members of the Tech Team – Jimmy le Baut and Clovis Gautier – are also on board.

“After the repairs, it’s the best opportunity for me to get to know the boat,” reports le Baut. “I’m happy to be on board and I think we’ll be across the Atlantic in around 15 days. The transfer is of course mainly about getting the yacht to Brazil without damage.

“But of course we will also check all systems to bring the yacht in the best shape to the start of the fourth leg. For me, it is the first Atlantic crossing on an IMOCA. But I have been involved in several Vendée Globe campaigns.”

Benjamin Dutreux, skipper of GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, and co-skipper Robert Stanjek will follow the transfer from home to join the team in Itajaí in early April.

“It was really a tough job because there was an area of several square metres delaminated,” said Dutreux. “It was the right decision to return to Cape Town. Because with the damage we wouldn’t have been able to sail through southern oceans.

“The damage was so extensive that we assumed it would take about a month to repair in a shipyard. But we knew we had to do it in a week. It was really a great technical and human achievement. We had five men under the boat and three men in the boat laminating. It’s a good example that you can achieve a lot with great man power and that you should never give up. It further bonded the team together.”

Robert Stanjek pointed out again that the team had been lucky after the damage: “We are happy that we have overcome this crisis. Our workshop and storage containers were still in Cape Town, we were able to use all our tools and access our materials. It was a good boat job that was done.” Despite all the disappointment, the team will throw all its strength into the next legs: “We are more motivated than before to show what we can do.”

Leg Three Rankings at 19:00 UTC
1. Team Holcim-PRB, distance to finish, 5902.2 nm
2. Team Malizia, distance to lead, 35.9 nm
3. Biotherm, distance to lead, 59.4 nm
4. 11th Hour Racing Team, distance to lead, 71.5 nm
GUYOT environnement – withdrawn from Leg 3

Race detailsRouteTrackerTeamsContent from the boatsYouTube

IMOCA: Boat, Design, Skipper, Launch date
• Guyot Environnement – Team Europe (VPLP Verdier); Benjamin Dutreux (FRA)/Robert Stanjek (GER); September 1, 2015
• 11th Hour Racing Team (Guillaume Verdier); Charlie Enright (USA); August 24, 2021
• Holcim-PRB (Guillaume Verdier); Kevin Escoffier (FRA); May 8, 2022
• Team Malizia (VPLP); Boris Herrmann (GER); July 19, 2022
• Biotherm (Guillaume Verdier); Paul Meilhat (FRA); August 31 2022

The Ocean Race 2022-23 Race Schedule:
Alicante, Spain – Leg 1 (1900 nm) start: January 15, 2023
Cabo Verde – ETA: January 22; Leg 2 (4600 nm) start: January 25
Cape Town, South Africa – ETA: February 9; Leg 3 (12750 nm) start: February 26
Itajaí, Brazil – ETA: April 1; Leg 4 (5500 nm) start: April 23
Newport, RI, USA – ETA: May 10; Leg 5 (3500 nm) start: May 21
Aarhus, Denmark – ETA: May 30; Leg 6 (800 nm) start: June 8
Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) – June 9
The Hague, The Netherlands – ETA: June 11; Leg 7 (2200 nm) start: June 15
Genova, Italy – The Grand Finale – ETA: June 25, 2023; Final In-Port Race: July 1, 2023

The Ocean Race (formerly Volvo Ocean Race and Whitbread Round the World Race) was initially to be raced in two classes of boats: the high-performance, foiling, IMOCA 60 class and the one-design VO65 class which has been used for the last two editions of the race.

However, only the IMOCAs will be racing round the world while the VO65s will race in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint which competes in Legs 1, 6, and 7 of The Ocean Race course.

Additionally, The Ocean Race also features the In-Port Series with races at seven of the course’s stopover cities around the world which allow local fans to get up close and personal to the teams as they battle it out around a short inshore course.

Although in-port races do not count towards a team’s overall points score, they do play an important part in the overall rankings as the In-Port Race Series standings are used to break any points ties that occur during the race around the world.

The 14th edition of The Ocean Race was originally planned for 2021-22 but was postponed one year due to the pandemic, with the first leg starting on January 15, 2023.

Source: The Ocean Race

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