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Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia wins Leg 3 of The Ocean Race after an intense battle

Team Malizia has won Leg 3 of The Ocean Race, the longest leg in the race’s history after an intense battle with Team Holcim-PRB in a nail-biting end of the leg. The team crossed the finish line on 2 April 2023 at 05:20:28 UTC, after 34 days, 17 hours, 10 min, 28 seconds at sea through the Southern Ocean. Facing big challenges early on during the leg, the team managed to overcome these, catch up with the front of the fleet, take over the lead, and win the mammoth leg.

Team Malizia skippered by Boris Herrmann (GER) and crewed by Will Harris (GBR), Nicolas Lunven (FRA) and Rosalin Kuiper (NED) with Antoine Auriol (FRA/GER) as onboard reporter, crossed the finish line of the third leg of the Ocean Race in first place at 05:20:28 UTC (02:20:28 local time in Itajaí). The team has sailed 14,714 nautical miles from Cape Town to Itajaí through the Southern Ocean, facing many highs and lows along the way.

The last days of the race have seen Team Holcim-PRB and Team Malizia battle it out between first and second place alternating most of the way up the South American coastline. Team Malizia then managed to build an 80 nautical miles gap and win the longest leg in The Ocean Race’s history. The duo faced storms, becalmed seas and challenging tactical decisions as they made their way towards the finish in Itajaí. Both teams had a great race, pushing hard to keep up. Therefore finishing the most difficult leg ahead of Team Holcim-PRB who has proven to be unbeatable in Leg 1 and 2 is a great achievement.

An elated Boris Herrmann commented as he stepped on the dock: “Winning this leg is an unreal moment, it’s taking time to realise what we have achieved, that the dream is coming true. Dreaming of doing The Ocean Race, doing this amazing leg through the Southern Ocean, finishing it after all the trouble we had early on, and winning it!! Four weeks ago, if I had been told ‘Repair your mast because you might win this leg’ I would have not believed it and said that’s not possible, we are too far behind and can’t push the boat anymore. But it worked out beyond our expectations”. The German skipper added: “This was a full team win, and I’m very proud of what we achieved.”

Co-skipper Will Harris, whose heroic mast repair put the team back in contention for the win, said: “It is a dream come true to win this leg of The Ocean Race, after everything we went through on this leg I am so happy. We really did this as a team, not just the sailing team but the whole team. Our boat was built for this leg and I think we really showed what the boat and this team can do, not only that but we had a good time doing it, we worked hard but we also enjoyed this race so much! Of course, Cape Horn was a highlight for me but also just the times of being on the deck and feeling the waves hit me, it really made me feel what it was to be in the Southern Ocean.”

Nicolas Lunven, master navigator on board Team Malizia commented: “This leg was really a highlight, we worked so well together as a team, we came back from a very big setback but we never gave up. We worked together and pushed each other to get through this and come out on top. It was also a very complicated leg in terms of routing, but that also made it exciting! For me passing Cape Horn for the first time and also being able to see Cape Horn, as often you can’t, was the highlight moment for me, it is something all sailors dream of and it will stay with me forever.”

The team has faced many challenges during this infamous 14,714 nm leg, at one point early in the race it even seemed that they may have to abandon the race altogether when the boat sustained a large crack at the top of the mast five days out of Cape Town. The sailors, led by Will Harris, managed to repair the damage and push on, losing little time in the light winds.

“It’s a very overwhelming moment, it’s incredible to be here in Itajaí, it has been such a big leg with many ups and downs”, said co-skipper Rosalin Kuiper after winning the leg. “We pushed so hard as a team day by day and it’s mind-blowing that we arrived first. We contemplated going back to Cape Town when we had the issue with the mast, and now we are here. We did it, we did it with this boat that is clearly made for the Southern Ocean and with this amazing team.”

Once out in the open Southern Ocean, the team were able to push hard and the boat really came into its own. The team gained 500 nm through the first half of the race to catch up to Team Holcim-PRB. With the expert routing of Nicolas Lunven carrying them quickly through the South, Team Malizia managed to overtake the Swiss team in the big waves and strong winds to lead the pack for a large part of the second half of the race.

Team Malizia encountered another big setback when Dutch co-skipper Rosalin Kuiper suffered a concussion when she was thrown from her bunk by a huge Southern Ocean wave. She was badly hurt but managed to stay strong and had to weather the rest of the journey mostly from her bunk to reduce the concussion effects. Thankfully, Rosalin seems to be recovering well and has been well looked after by the other sailors. After arriving in Itajaí, the young Dutch sailor commented on her injury: “I’m doing much better, I’m recovering from my concussion, I will see the doctor and take proper rest on land where it’s not so bumpy! I will continue to recover and will be back and ready to do the next leg!”

Rosalin’s concussion meant that Team Maliza was a vital crew member down and so meant that Will and Boris had to take up extra shifts to leave Nicolas Lunven free to navigate the boat. Despite this Malizia – Seaexplorer was the first boat to cross Cape Horn and also the fastest boat from Cape to Cape in 27 days, 17 hours and 31 minutes, earning the team the Roaring Forties Trophy.

On completing this long Southern Ocean leg, the team not only won the leg but also collected rare science data on the way using their onboard automated ocean laboratory and deploying measuring devices on route. Amassing a vast amount of CO2 ocean data in the almost unmapped area. This data was live streamed to our scientific partners in order that they can better understand the impacts of manmade climate change on the ocean. The ocean is really the lungs of our planet, with every second breath coming from the ocean it becomes ever more important for us to protect it and learn more about the impacts we are having.

Team Malizia’s A Race We Must Win – Climate Action Now! mission is only possible due to the strong and long-lasting commitment from its seven main partners: Hapag-Lloyd, Schütz, the Yacht Club de Monaco, EFG International, Zurich Group Germany, Kuehne+Nagel, and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company. These partners band behind Team Malizia to support its campaign, each of them working towards projects in their own field to innovate around climate solutions.

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