HomeThe Ocean RaceTeam Malizia wins Leg 3 of The Ocean Race

Team Malizia wins Leg 3 of The Ocean Race

At 05:20:28 UTC / 02:20:28 local time in Brazil, Team Malizia glided across the finish line off Ocean Live Park in Itajaí to win leg 3 of The Ocean Race, collecting 5 points in the process.

The win comes on the 35th day of racing and after 14,714 nautical miles of intense, close-quarters racing.

“Winning this leg is an unreal moment, it’s taking time to realise what we have achieved, that the dream is coming true,” said an elated Boris Herrmann shortly after the finish.

“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”.

Within days of the start in Cape Town the team discovered serious damage to the top of their mast and needed to devote nearly two full days to effecting difficult repairs at sea, with an uncertain result.

“When I think back to that day, we’d just started, we’d lost a sail and damaged the mast, we really thought about going back to Cape Town,” Will Harris said, reflecting on the tough situation early in the leg.

Meanwhile, Team Holcim-PRB had escaped from the rest of the fleet and was a full weather system and nearly 600 miles ahead.

On board Malizia, the makeshift reinforcement of the top of the spar was successful and the chase was on.

By the time the teams reached the Leg 3 scoring gate, Malizia had closed to less than 200 miles from Holcim-PRB, moving up into second place, and collecting 4 points.

As the fleet raced south of New Zealand and into the southern depths of the Pacific Ocean, the game closed up significantly within 10 miles and exchanging the lead one to the other as they raced along the ice exclusion zone.

During one of the worst periods of the leg, with the boat lurching in a violent sea state, Rosalin Kuiper was tossed from her bunk and suffered a head injury. With a focus on getting Rosie stabilised and recovering, the crew was taxed even more, down to a three-person watch rotation for the rest of the leg.

“I’m doing well. I’m recovering. Not completely there yet, but I’m doing fine and happy to be here with everyone,” Kuiper said on arrival.

A day out from Cape Horn and Team Malizia had a narrow advantage of less than 30 miles, leading the fleet around the iconic passage and winning the Roaring Forties trophy in the process.

The final push north was hard-fought. Team Holcim-PRB and Team Malizia were racing within in sight of each other – exchanging body blows all the way up the South American coast.

The penultimate night – Friday night – was a battle through yet another fierce storm, with gusts of 50 knots screaming off the coast and whipping up the sea. Boris Herrmann and his crew on Team Malizia handled the conditions with aplomb, and emerged into the daybreak with a 60 mile lead after Holcim-PRB did a crash gybe overnight and suffered damage. This was the largest lead any team had enjoyed since New Zealand over 10 days ago.

“We were waiting to see if Holcim PRB would ever make a mistake,” Harris said. “They’ve been hot on our heels the whole way since Cape Horn. But they finally made a little mistake and that was our moment to take our opportunity and build a lead to come into Itajaí with a win.”

On the last day of the leg and into the final night at sea Team Malizia sailed fast and confident towards the finishing line, extending its lead to more than 80 miles and taking an historic win.

Congratulations to Boris Herrmann, Will Harris, Nico Lunven, Rosalin Kuiper and on board reporter Antoine Auriol and the entire Malizia team on their victory.

“I’m super-happy to be in Itajaí now but if I could choose, we would go and start again,” Kuiper said. “We had so much fun and it was by far the most epic sailing I’ve ever done.”

“It’s a dream come true to be here in first place. It was such a long fight, all the way to finish and I’m so proud of this team. It’s an amazing feeling,” Harris concluded.

“It’s very nice to get the win,” agreed Nico Lunven. “We were very close to going back to Cape Town. But Will and Rosie did an amazing job climbing the mast to make the repair and that let us come back in the game and finally win.”

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