Team Malizia is off to a flying start in leg 3 of the Ocean Race

Team Malizia had a good start in Cape Town, having led almost all of the inshore section, with some spectacular foiling action in an eventful beginning of the leg. The international sailing team will soon face strong weather conditions before reaching the Southern Ocean and heading towards Brazil.

Cape Town, 26 February 2023 - This year’s most awaited sailing adventure has begun: Team Malizia set off for Leg 3 of The Ocean Race, racing from Cape Town through the Southern Ocean towards Itajaí, Brazil. The fleet of five IMOCA yachts crossed the start line at 1415 hours local time (1215 hours UTC) in sunny Cape Town for two and a half laps of an inshore course before heading towards the Southern Ocean. Boris Herrmann’s team was second over the line behind Biotherm, followed by GUYOT Environnement - Team Europe, and with 11th Hour Racing Team in fourth and Team Holcim-PRB in fifth position.

Alternating between strong gusts of up to 40 knots and no wind zones, the spectators got a good view of the inshore racing action under Table Mountain. As Biotherm dropped in speed, Team Malizia found a breeze between mark 4 and 5, overtaking them. The team then kept the lead for the rest of the inshore course, flying on their foils and hitting at times an impressive maximum speed of 33 knots. Biotherm soon faced a technical issue, forcing them to return to the harbour for repairs. Not long after, 11th Hour Racing Team dropped their main sail and suspended their race to fix a broken batten issue at sea. Both race yachts have to serve a minimum two-hour period, with 11th Hour having resumed racing at the time of publication.

“It was a good start, it looks beautiful from here”, said Herrmann in a voice note sent to his shore team as Malizia - Seaexplorer headed south along the Southafrican coast. 

A few hours before dock-off, Herrmann described the start of the long-awaited adventure: “This leg start is very emotional. Leaving Cape Town is always like jumping off a cliff, you don’t really see what’s underneath, how deep the water is. The Southern Ocean is this huge thing, the one Ocean that goes around the planet and around Antarctica. So going out to this wilderness, away from everyone for such a long time it’s still a bit unreal but I think we will feel it when we step from the dock onto the boat. That’s really when the emotion kicks in.”

Herrmann added: “The crew is well, I am 100%, happy to go, keen to go, and I think we can really do well in this leg with our boat design and our crew.” Team Malizia’s crew for Leg 3 is composed of Boris Herrmann (GER) back as skipper after sitting out Leg 3, co-skippers Will Harris (GBR), Nico Lunven (FRA) and Rosalin Kuiper (NED) who is back on board after feeling unwell this week, and Antoine Auriol (FRA/GER) as onboard reporter. “I am a bit more emotional than usual”, said the Dutch sailor. “I was sick in the past days and a bit worried, but everyday I feel better and I am so happy and lucky to be on the boat after realising it was a close call.”

British sailor Will Harris, who set off for his first trip through the Southern Ocean, added: “This is for sure the biggest sailing achievement I will have done, to be at the start line of this. I’m really excited, there’s going to be so many amazing moments, sights, and places to sail but there’s going to be tough moments as well. I’m sure there will be plenty of stories to tell when we come to Itajaí but it’s going to be a tough start. We are going to have to be upwind in quite a lot of wind to get down to the Southern Ocean.”

“Straight after the start, we will face strong upwind conditions along the African coast, in a southeast direction, up to 30-35 knots of wind,” explained expert navigator Nico Lunven. “Soon after, there will be a light wind transition zone through a high pressure that we need to cross through. After the high pressure, the westerly wind will pick up quite quickly, with up to 40 or 50 knots of wind 4 to 5 days into the race. Maybe we will try to find a path with a bit less wind instead.”

Leg 3, which will see the fleet of IMOCA race yachts sail in the most extreme conditions, is expected to last between 35 to 40 days. At the time of this publication, Team Malizia is currently sailing in second position.

Source: Press info Team Malizia