After a short stop in Cape Verde, competitors in the race around the world set off on Wednesday for the second leg to South Africa. A long journey of more than 8000 km through waterfalls and high Saint Helena.
The four-day stop in Mindelo ended on Wednesday at the end of the day with a workers’ parade. As during their welcome last weekend in the port of the Cape Verde island of Sao Vicente, it was music and public consolation where the sailors joined their monohull company Imoca (18.28 m) before abandoning the stations. In the large bay of Porto Grande, the breath of the strong trade wind that had been hitting the islands for several days had lost its strength. In the shot, at 7:10 p.m., the competitors had to face light winds to start the second leg of The Ocean Race, a long journey of about fifteen days to Cape Town, at the tip of Africa (4,600) . miles, 8,520 km), through the equator and the South Atlantic.
Showing the fastest on the line, Guyot Environnement-Team Europe (Benjamin Dutreux gave way to Sébastien Simon on the podium) still led the way after a few minutes of the race ahead of Holcim-PRB (Kevin Escoffier), 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright), Biotherm (Paul Meilhat) and Malizia (Will Harris). But the nature of this second round was far from written. “It’s a big part in terms of distancecomments Paul Meilhat, winner of the 2018 Route du Rhum. But we leave the same and more calm with the equipment than on the first stage where we had a difficult situation (up to 50 knots [92 km/h] in the Strait of Gibraltar). The course is beautiful, with two important points to discuss, the hesitation and the high Saint Helena. »
The new guest at the event, Yann Eliès, who has started Malizia to replace Boris Herrmann (captain), injured in one leg, believes that. “It promises to be tactically and strategically difficult in terms of the weather and the options to pursue. But it will be exciting.” “For me, coming to the event for the first time, continues, cIt’s a bit of a dream because between the Jules-Verne Trophy and the Vendée Globe, I’ve just done a non-stop round-the-world race. Not forgetting that I must have passed twenty or thirty times near these islands that I have been watching from afar. It took me twenty-five years of my career to set foot in Cape Verde! »
The winner of the first stage, Kevin Escoffier would see himself take the lead for the second time in Cape Town. “There are a lot of good things, the crew and the boat are playinghe says. But I have already participated twice in The Ocean Race (at Dongfeng de Caudrelier, 3rd in 2014-2015, 1st in 2017-2018), I know that you must not think that you have arrived. The competition is fierce and given the way we pushed the boat during the first leg, I ask myself a big question: can we go to the end of the lap with such speed? We have never fired such Imocas with the crew! »