Malizia – Seaexplorer skippered by 29-year old Briton Will Harris arrived in Cape Town at 15:16:49 UTC on 12 February in fourth position after an elapsed time of 17 days 21 hours 6 minutes and 49 seconds, marking the end of a second leg of The Ocean Race which was full of suspense.

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After a thrilling finish to Leg 2 of The Ocean Race 2022-23, Team Malizia took an honourable fourth position in Cape Town, crossing the finish line this Sunday afternoon only 2 hours and 6 minutes behind Leg 2 winner Team Holcim-PRB.

As he stepped off Malizia – Seaexplorer, skipper Will Harris said: “Everyone raced their hearts from the word ‘Go’, but the result was down to a bit of luck. In the end it wasn’t the 6500 racing miles that counted, it was the last 100 that did. We tried a different option, aiming to go for glory rather than nothing at all, and in the end it didn’t pay off unfortunately. The winners must have sailed a great race to get to the finish.”

On taking the role of skipper earlier on than planned, Will added: “The great thing about this leg was to have a really good team. I know the crew very well, and thanks to Rosalin’s energy, Nico’s navigational skills, Yann’s experience and Antoine’s humour we had a great spirit onboard. Even after a slow start we stayed motivated, we kept pushing, we didn’t let it get us down, and we managed to come back into the lead, leading almost all the way to the finish. For sure my learning curve was very steep in terms of responsibility. It’s a lot of boat, we have to do a lot of miles with it and I was definitely nervous and cautious at times, wanting to look after it, but the crew made it really easy and I enjoyed the experience.”

Off to a slow start in Cabo Verde, our team suffered early on from not having their spinnaker in the light to moderate downwind conditions. This coupled with a furler issue requiring a mast climb by co-skipper Rosalin Kuiper left them trailing the leading team by as much as 180 nautical miles. Knowing that the doldrums lay ahead with some opportunities to regain the lost miles, the team placed themselves brilliantly to the west of the fleet, resulting in a quicker passage and allowing them to catch up.

After the boats sailed around the bottom of the infamous Saint Helena high pressure, Team Malizia first encountered the north side of a South Atlantic low pressure. Our crew was able to keep their speed up in the fast conditions to pull themselves back into the pack and eventually into the lead following a series of perfectly timed gybes.

The unusually disturbed South Atlantic weather meant the quickest route to Cape Town would take them all the way south to the ice gate. Another perfectly timed gybe by our crew put them into an excellent position in the lead directly between their competitors and the finish. At this point, it looked as if the race was theirs but unfortunately a ridge of light winds was blocking their way to Cape Town about 500 nautical miles from the finish. The team placed themselves slightly further south of the fleet hoping to take advantage of the increased pressure. This strategy was working perfectly until the very last miles of the race where the wind disappeared on them, not paying off in the end.

Up until the last hours of the leg, it was anybody’s race to win and our team, unfortunately, lost on this occasion. Despite the fourth-place finish, our team is in great spirits as we have shown that the boat is fast and our strategic decisions proved themselves. We were unlucky on this occasion, however, the race is not yet over. In Leg 3 the lap of the Southern Ocean counts for double points, the crew will be sailing in conditions best suited to our race yacht.

Upon the arrival of the crew, Boris Herrmann said: “The last hours of the race weren’t in our favour but the team fought on. We are so proud of them and this great racing and even though we’d have loved them to win – we couldn’t have asked for more. They pushed till the end, took us on this journey with them and also showcased the amazing sport of sailing engaging people around the world. The final score is fourth but they won in many ways. Will taking over as skipper showcased his talent as a leader and he made the team proud. To come back from 5th, take the lead, and maintain the energy and spirit of the team is amazing! This is only Leg 2 and there is still a long way until the Grand Finale in Genoa. We have learnt a lot and we will come back to Leg 3 even stronger. I am excited to be back on board with the crew for the next leg which will start on 26 February.”



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