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VO65 fleet returns to race in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint

by The Ocean Race 26 May 18:06 BST 26 May 2023
The Ocean Race 2022-23. 15 January 2023, VO65 fleet Leg 1 Start © Sailing Energy / The Ocean Race

The last time we saw the VO65 fleet in The Ocean Race was in January and the teams had just completed the opening stage of the VO65 Sprint, from Alicante, Spain to Cabo Verde.

The Polish-flagged WindWhisper Racing Team won the race south from the Mediterranean out to the Atlantic, with Team JAJO and Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova rounding out the podium.

Now the fleet is making its way north, to Aarhus, Denmark, in anticipation of meeting up once again with The Ocean Race ahead of the second stage of the VO65 Sprint. The WindWhisper Racing Team is already in Aarhus, training ahead of the Leg.

"We're really looking forward to being back in the race from Aarhus onwards, especially after our excellent first stage from Alicante to Cabo Verde in January," said WindWhisper Spanish skipper Pablo Arrarte. "We are ready, the boat is ready. Our international crew has a strong Polish component and will have a few changes but the core will remain the same and we plan to have up to six sailors under 30 years old to give the youth a great opportunity to improve their skills in a truly professional environment."

"Aarhus is a great place we know well and which always gives a special feeling, so we're looking forward to coming back to Aarhus," said Jelmer van Beek, the skipper of Team JAJO. "It's time for the VO65s to rejoin the race. For now we're in second place, we're happy with that. But the race is far from over, we're only looking ahead. We will do everything we can to give the WindWhisper Racing Team a hard time and make it a tough race."

"I am thrilled to be back in The Ocean Race again," said Gerwin Jansen. "It was tough to see IMOCA boats racing in the Southern Ocean without us, but we used that time to work hard and improve our boat and sails. With these upgrades, we're more competitive than ever and ready to hunt down the leaders. We're excited for the challenge ahead."

"We are looking forward to being back onboard Viva México for the start of stage 2 in the VO65 Sprint," said Erik Brockmann, skipper of Viva México. "It felt like a long break, following the race from on shore but now we are ready and excited to be back! The first stage of the Race did not go as we would have liked but finishing and getting those 2 points really is giving us a chance now to fight for a podium finish which is our goal. We're really looking forward to seeing everyone in Aarhus!"

The Ambersail team will not return for the final two stages of The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint, while the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team is in a new collaboration with Trifork for the final two stages of the event.

Race veteran Roberto 'Chuny' Bermúdez de Castro from Spain will skipper the Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team: "I am really happy to be part of this great team, which has come together in a record time. We are a mix of people who know each other from a long time ago along with a new generation of young sailors. We have a fantastic boat which is in really good shape. I really appreciate the owners for their efforts to put all this together. We are looking forward to great racing in the VO65 Sprint."

The teams will assemble in Aarhus in the coming days ahead of the In-Port Race on 4 June, and then the VO65 fleet will race directly to The Hague (no Kiel Fly-By) starting on 8 June. The last stage of the VO65 Sprint takes the fleet to Genova, Italy for the Grand Finale.

See more details about the crews and the VO65 Sprint.

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