Boris Herrmann's Team Malizia wins Leg 3 of The Ocean Race
It's a well-earned win for a resilient team who outsailed and outlasted the competition on the longest leg in race history.
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.
Early in the leg, it didn't appear likely that we would see Team Malizia at the front of the fleet for the finish.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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