Malizia Seaexplorer Leads to the Last in Leg 2 of the Ocean Race to Capetown
The Ocean Race which is widely regarded as one of the toughest challenges in all of sport fired up into Leg 2 to Capetown with Malizia Seaexplorer aiming to win. No ordinary race it is one of the sport’s Big Three events, alongside the Olympic Games and America’s Cup.
Team Malizia already threw down the gauntlet in Ocean Race’s Leg 1 with Boris Herrmann leading his team to a third-place finish in the sprint covering the 1,900 nautical miles from Alicante to Cape Verde and finishing behind winners Holcim-PRB and the 11th Hour Racing Team.
Leg 2 from Cabo Verde, 4.600 nautical miles to Cape Town in South Africa is a different kettle of fish. And Team Malizia were without skipper Boris Herrmann who missed this leg after suffering a severe foot burn in the opening leg from spilled boiling water.
Luckily, world-famous and long-time coach Yann Elies joined the crew allowing 29 year old British sailor Will Harris, who was originally pencilled in to take on skippering duties for Leg 4, to take over as skipper for Boris in Leg 2.
Off to a slow start in Cabo Verde, the 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 in 5th place trailing the leading team by as much as 180 nautical miles.
Leading Right to the Last
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.The 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 the 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.
Bad Luck Strikes
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 when 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 the team, unfortunately, lost on this occasion still managing a creditable fourth-place finish.
The team remained in great spirits however as they have shown that the boat is fast. They were just unlucky on this occasion.
The Ocean Race is far from over. In Leg 3 the lap of the Southern Ocean counts for double points, the crew will be sailing in conditions best suited to the race yacht.
Go Malizia Seaexplorer!