Yacht Class n°32 (march-april-may 2023)

After the Route du Rhum, Boris Herrmann and Team Malizia are now competing in another sailing monument: The Ocean Race. A great opportunity to show off the Principality’s colours and above all to gain experience for the skipper’s ultimate goal: the Vendée Globe 2024.

Written by: Aurore Teodoro – Photos : Jimmy Horel, Rosalin Kuiper, Antoine Auriol / Team Malizia, Alec Smith /The Ocean Race & DR.

Team Malizia has certainly been quite busy after their arrival in Pointe-à-Pitre late November and its 12th place in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe (see Yacht class n°31). A delivery trip to Europe, a refit and a pair of new foils later, Boris Herrmann and his team composed of Will Harris (co-skipper), Rosalin Kuiper, Nicolas Lunven, Yann Eliès, Axelle Pillain and onboard reporter Antoine Auriol are now competing in the prestigious Ocean Race. With its journey of almost 60 000 km over six months, this crewed round the world race in stages, created in 1973 under the name of Whitbread Round The World Race, will be a great opportunity for the German skipper to prepare for the next Vendée Globe. After leaving Alicante on January 15th, the crews set sail for Cape Verde for a first leg of 1 900 nautical miles, which the Monegasque boat completed in 5 days, 16 hours, 35 minutes and 21 seconds, with peak of 34 knots (63 km/h) as they approached this archipelago off Senegal. Perfect to test the boat and her new foils…

Suspense up to the end

With a fine third place on this first leg, the team then casted off again late January for South Africa and Cape Town, but without Boris Herrmann, who was injured during the first stage. After suffering from the absence of a spinnaker that would have been very useful in light to moderate tailwind conditions, then a furler issue requiring a mast climb by co-skipper Rosalin Kuiper, Malizia – Seaexplorer was 180 nautical miles behind the fleet leader. Yet, the crew managed to catch up, thanks to a slightly different trajectory from their competitors, and even later to take the lead in this tight race, before being blocked by a ridge of light winds around 500 nautical miles from the finish in South Africa. By taking a slightly more southerly route than the fleet, the crew was able to take advantage of the increased pressure they were looking for, before the wind disappeared on them in the final miles of the race. Team Malizia finished fourth, after a 17 days 21 hours 6 minutes and 49 seconds of navigation, just over 2 hours behind the winner, Kévin Escoffier’s Holcim-PRB, leader in the provisional ranking, missing out the podium. “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”, Boris Herrmann proudly commented upon their arrival. As we were wrapping up this issue, the competitors had just embarked on the third – and longest – leg from Cape Town to Itajai, a Brazilian city 1 000 km south of Rio de Janeiro. A journey of 12 750 nautical miles (23 613 kilometres, through the heart of the Southern Ocean. This stage will be a perfect rehearsal for Boris Herrmann, who will be able to validate his boat’s design before the 2024 Vendée Globe.

The current magazine