Malizia – Seaexplorer back in europe and third in leg 5 of the ocean race

Malizia – Seaexplorer crossed the finish line of Leg 5 of The Ocean Race in third position at 07:27:50 UTC after an incredibly tight finish. The crew arrived in Aarhus, Denmark after 7 days, 13 hours, 12 minutes, and 50 seconds at sea, and having broken the 24-hour distance record, making Malizia – Seaexplorer the fastest monohull in the world.

This race is one for the books! Two days after breaking the 24-hour distance record for a monohull, Malizia – Seaexplorer crossed the finish line of Leg 5 of The Ocean Race in third place at 07:27:50 UTC (09:27 local time CEST) in a nail-biting finish. Skippered by Boris Herrmann and crew Will Harris, Rosalin Kuiper, Yann Eliès, and onboard reporter Antoine Auriol, Malizia – Seaexplorer sailed 3,868 nautical miles from Newport, USA, to Aarhus, Denmark, in 7 days, 13 hours, 12 minutes, and 50 seconds, during the race they also broke the 24-hour distance record for a monohull along the way.

In the final hours of the race, the team closed the gap to Team Holcim-PRB from over 40 nautical miles down to one. Pushing until the end, Malizia – Seaexplorer sailed neck and neck with their Swiss competitor, finally crossing the line in third position only 5 minutes and 47 seconds later. 11th Hour Racing Team won the leg by arriving 4 hours and 31 minutes earlier, whilst Biotherm is currently still racing. Malizia – Seaexplorer collected valuable points in the double-counting leg, now holding 24 points in the overall ranking and with only 4 points separating them from the American leader.

Skipper Boris Herrmann commented: “What a race! I am incredibly proud of our team and of our boat. This boat is now the fastest monohull in the world. That is unbelievable, I want to put a big sticker on the boat! The racing in this leg was amazing, especially at the end with the other boat in view, flat water, sunshine, the Danish coast, a bit of homewaters for me, that was one of the most beautiful days.

Off to a great start winning the In-Port Race in Newport, Team Malizia soon encountered tricky upwind conditions and had to face a major issue on day 2 of the race. “We lost our J2 sail very early after the start of the race”, explained Boris Herrmann at the arrival in Aarhus. “This is our most important sail, it is one that we use all the time, it was quite a blow especially so early in the leg. We didn’t reveal the loss of our J2 in order not to give a knowledgeable advantage to the other teams. The sail had ripped off and we knew we wouldn’t be able to fix it on board. However, the crew did a great job at keeping the spirits high, fighting their way and keeping the pace up”.

Five days later, Team Malizia broke the world 24-hour distance record for a monohull. Team Holcim-PRB had extended the record previously held by 100-foot maxi-monohull Comanche from 618 nm to 640.9 nm earlier that day. Enters Team Malizia. Less than 24 hours later, the crew onboard Malizia – Seaexplorer beat the Swiss team and set the bar at 641.13 nm, having sailed at an average speed of 26.7 knots. “I would never have thought we would break the Comanche record, and by such a margin”, added the German skipper. “I also think this record might outlast the next Ocean Race and be set for 10, 12 years maybe.”

I feel that I experienced something that will remain engraved in my memory for a long, long time”, says Yann Eliès. “First, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean in only seven and a half days, I don’t think many people have achieved this. Secondly, we beat the 24-hour distance record, on an IMOCA race yacht, and thirdly, we finished within sight of Team Holcim-PRB, we could almost touch them. This has truly been an incredible leg.

This leg wasn’t easy in terms of strategy because there weren’t many moves to play and it was important not to miss them”, added navigator Yann Eliès. “We missed one upon leaving Saint Pierre and Miquelon, where the fleet had to cut a weather front in order to be in front of it and then sail in a regular wind flow with a nice sea state. Unfortunately, we timed our manoeuvre a bit wrong, by an hour or so… Hats off to 11th Hour’s navigator who went against what the computer predicted and made the right move. In the end, I’m still very happy about the performance of the team and the boat. Sailing for the first time with Boris was great too, straight from the beginning, during the In-Port Race we felt exactly the same way about how we wanted to sail this boat, we were very much in sync from the get-go.”

It was also unfortunate that we had to sail a detour in the North Sea when we encountered a seismic research vessel towing about 8 kilometres of scientific equipment”, added co-skipper Rosalin Kuiper. “We really wanted to grab these points, nevertheless, this leg was quite epic and I am very happy because I think we will carry this record-holder energy into the next leg! The welcome in Aarhus is fantastic, our boat is fast, our team is efficient and always smiling. We fought until the finish and we can be really proud of that.

Leg 5 of The Ocean Race was not only marked by impressive speeds but also by the return to Europe for the fleet and team members, those such as Will Harris, Antoine Auriol and many of the shore crew that left Alicante, Spain, over four months ago are now back. Briton Will Harris got to sail past the United Kingdom, Boris Herrmann re-entered his home waters of the Baltic Sea. Soon, Boris Herrmann will sail in German waters during the Kiel Fly-By and Rosalin Kuiper will be able to race in the waters she knows best in Leg 6 to The Hague, The Netherlands.

The fight is on,” said Boris Herrmann. “We can still win this race. It will never be over, the final score will be made at the finish in Genoa and we fight until the 1st of July. That’s what we enjoy.”