Ocean Race Newport, RI


About two months from today, in early May, The Ocean Race fleet will be bearing down on the Leg 4 finish in Newport. Or, perhaps, the first finisher will be safely tucked away at Fort Adams State Park. Whatever the result, the fleet’s arrival for its lone North American stopover is coming up quickly.
Today marks Day 10 of Leg 3 of The Ocean Race, a 12,700-nautical mile odyssey from South Africa to Brazil. Kevin Escoffier’s Team Holcim – PRB from Switzerland continues to lead the fleet, as it has since the leg started, but that lead is shrinking.
At today’s 1700 UTC position report, Team Holcim – PRB, positioned in the South Indian Ocean about 830 nautical miles south/southwest of Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, leads Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm by 165 nautical miles.
Last weekend Holcim – PRB’s lead was more than 550 nautical miles. No lead is safe in an ocean race like this because the leader can sail into light winds while the chasers are in different weather conditions. Such is the scenario playing out now. “We are used to it (the fleet getting closer). It’s all part of the game,” Escoffier said today.
The Rhode Island sailing community would be ecstatic to see 11th Hour Racing Team’s Mālama lead the fleet into town in May as it has two favorite “sons” aboard – skipper Charlie Enright and onboard reporter Amory Ross. It is the third consecutive race for both sailors.
Perhaps no crew has been more active in the past few days than Mālama’s, which has seen life at the fast and slow ends of the fleet.
  • According to Race Control, 11th Hour Racing Team has beaten its own race record for a 24-hour run, posting up 544.63 nautical miles in a period ending in the early morning hours of Mar. 5. 11th Hour Racing Team previously posted a 542.68 nautical mile run (unratified) on leg 2 of the Race.
  • Breakdowns, however, are hampering the crew. Two important headsails were taken out of the rotation for a couple of days to repair tears, which slowed their pace.
  • Yesterday the crew reported that it had found cracks in both rudders, forcing the use of their spare rudder on the starboard side. The crew is in no imminent danger but needs to be sure that the rudders are reliable and not a constant worry.
Ross summed up the situation yesterday: “We’ll have to find the balance between making progress east on both the course and our competition (who will eventually slow up) and making sure to take good care of our remaining rudders. Where that balance falls, we will have to figure out, but, it will take some time to play out. Days and weeks, not minutes or hours. The complexion of this leg has changed for sure but we’re back into watches, and everyone’s up to the new challenge… I promise you that!”
This is the third time The Ocean Race has made Newport the only stopover port in North America. The race previously stopped in Newport in the 2014 -’15 and 2017 -’18 editions. The two stopovers have attracted more than 247,000 visitors to the Race Village at Fort Adams State Park, generating a total economic impact of $47.7 million in 2015 alone.

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