South or West

The first balancing act of the second leg of The Ocean Race enters its decisive phase on Saturday. The teams have made their decisions on how far west to sail and then jibe south to enter the Doldrums. It’s a tightrope walk between the shorter route to the leg finish in Cape Town, South Africa, via an early track south, and the supposedly better wind to the west of the Atlantic.

The range of strategic choices is between GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, which has chosen the route furthest east, and Team Malizia, which has gone extremely west. The decision also depends on the choice of sails that the crews have on board for this leg.


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The European campaign of GUYOT environnement – Team Europe around skipper Robert Stanjek as well as navigator Sébastien Simon, pit Annie Lush, bowman Phillip Kasüske and onboard reporter Charles Drapeau decided to take the light A2 on board before the start in Mindelo/Cape Verde. The large sail made of white thin nylon cloth has also been used a lot in the weaker winds since the start. “It’s a nice downwind sail. Very suitable for our boat because we can’t sail the speeds of the new, lighter boats like this. Holcim and 11th Hours Racing don’t race the sail. We changed the Code Zero for the A2 shortly after the start, then had to change back twice because there was too light wind. But apart from that, we sail our A2 almost all the time here. It allows us to sail at a better angle, but we don’t sail quite as fast. That suits our boat quite well.”

In addition to the strategic games, three of the GUYOT environnement – Team Europe crew have a very different challenge waiting for them in the Doldrums. “Phillip, Charles and I are sailing across the equator for the first time. That’s why Anne-Claire and Seb will do the Equator baptism. The first baptism theories are already circulating here about what they’ll come up with. These range from shaving off hair to drinking disgusting drinks to taking funny showers. Maybe we’ll be lucky and it will be windy when we cross the equator, so they won’t be able to stretch it out so much,” says Robert Stanjek, looking ahead.

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