INTRODUCING LEG 6
🗺️ AARHUS, DENMARk ➡️ The hague, The netherlands (Fly by in kiel)
🏁 START june 8, 2023
⌛️ ETA june 11, 2023
📏 DISTANCE: 800 nautical miles (921 miles/1,482 kilometers)
Leg 6 – the penultimate stage of The Ocean Race 2022-23 – is an estimated three-day 800-nautical mile (921-mile/1,482-kilometre) coastal passage from Aarhus, Denmark to Netherlands city The Hague – via a no-stop flyby visit to the German port of Kiel.
Although it is by far the shortest passage of the around-the-world race, Leg 6 is far from straightforward and will almost certainly prove to be as challenging as any of the others.
Particularly tricky will be the fact that much of the leg will be sailed close to shore where understanding the patterns of local weather systems and currents could make the difference between success and failure.
Based on the prevailing weather the race organizers will choose between two possible routes: the shortest passing under the Storebæltsforbindelsen (Great Belt Bridge) between Denmark’s Zealand and Funen islands; or a longer option is to send the fleet further by by way of the Øresund Bridge between Denmark to Sweden.
With the fleet scheduled to round a turning mark close in Kiel’s harbour there could be a compression in the fleet as the crews pick their way in and out of the Bay of Kiel – venue for the 1936 and 1972 Olympic regattas.
From there the fleet will head north passing Aarhus once again before entering the North Sea at Skagen – Denmark’s most northerly town.
Once again, depending on the weather systems in play at the time, the crews may have to choose between heading offshore for stronger steadier winds, or taking a more direct route closer to the shore.
The North Sea is famously shallow and in the case of strong winds can kick up a horrible sea state that will – as well as making for an unpleasant on board experience – require the crews to be on guard against damage to their boats.
Whichever route they choose there is likely to be little in the way of sleep for the sailors as they weave their way between sandbanks, race imposed exclusion zones and the multitude of oil rigs and wind farms that populate the area.
Given the flat local topography around The Hague the teams could be fortunate enough to keep a steady breeze all the way to the finish line off the city’s extensive beachfront.