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Team Malizia Racing Towards Germany in Leg 6 of The Ocean Race

by Team Malizia 8 Jun 16:10 PDT 8 June 2023
Team Malizia prepare for the next stage of The Ocean Race © Ricardo Pinto / Team Malizia

After a challenging inshore course in almost no wind, the fleet of five IMOCA race yachts departed this Thursday afternoon from Aarhus, Denmark for the 800 nautical mile-long Leg 6 of The Ocean Race. Boris Herrmann and his Team Malizia crew composed of co-skippers Will Harris, Rosalin Kuiper, Axelle Pillain, and onboard reporter Antoine Auruiol are now racing in the shortest but also of the most complex and coastal legs which sees them sail to Kiel for a fly-by before heading to The Hague, Netherlands.

Team Malizia got off to a tricky start in very light wind conditions. Moments before reaching the start line, Team Holcim-PRB dove below Team Malizia, with Boris Herrmann's team not being able to bear away enough and being pushed by the Swiss team over the line early. Team Malizia therefore had to turn around and restart the race, whilst 11th Hour Racing Team took the lead, followed by Biotherm in second position, Team Holcim-PRB in third, and GUYOT environnement - Team Europe in fourth position.

Soon, Team Malizia managed to catch up and overtake the European team. The fleet progressed very slowly but steadily in extremely light wind conditions that made it seem like the boats were stopped at times. As the conditions dropped to "zero wind", the race committee decided to shorten the inshore section of the painfully slow drag race to a one-lap course. As the wind picked up, GUYOT managed to pass Team Malizia. 11th Hour Racing Team was first to clear the leaving gate, followed by Biotherm, Team Holcim-PRB in third position, with GUYOT fourth and Team Malizia close behind in fifth. The fleet is now on their way south to Fly-By in Germany's sailing city Kiel before racing towards the finish line in The Hague.

"Coming to Kiel is very special", said German skipper Boris Herrmann. "I used to live in Kiel, I finished my studies there, I sailed and trained a lot there, so I have a great connection to the city. I also experienced The Ocean Race myself there in 2002 with the legendary victory of the Illbruck. I was on the water and remember that day as if it was yesterday. Racing into the Kieler Innenförde with my team and boat, after having sailed around the world, and seeing the many fans expected there is something I am really looking forward to." Interestingly, the same Illbruck boat came to Aarhus for the start today and sailed metres away from Malizia after the start!

Over 100,000 people and more than 1,000 spectators boats are expected in Kiel tomorrow, and Boris Herrmann's team is impatiently waiting to pass the turning mark near the Kiellinie and offer them up close sailing action. The IMOCA fleet is expected to reach the Kiel lighthouse at 15:00 local time (13:00 UTC) to enter the Kieler Innenförde and to pass the turning mark near the Kielline at around 16:00 local time (14:00 UTC).

Whilst fans can meet the Malizia shore team on land, they will also be able to follow the spectacle on the water live on the big screens in the Ocean Live Park, as well as remotely on Eurosport and NDR (both TV and online). Guidelines have been published to ensure the secure passage of the IMOCA boats and a safe and enjoyable day for all on the water.

After the Kiel Fly-By, Malizia - Seaexplorer and her competitors will head north again to pass Aarhus and sail back into the North Sea at the Skagen headland. Skipper Boris Herrmann won't be the only Team Malizia member sailing home on this leg: Co-skipper Rosalin Kuiper will soon enter home waters, racing into the Netherlands to finish off Leg 6, likely on Sunday 11 June. "We are going to push hard in this short but intense leg", commented the Dutch sailor. "I want to arrive in first position in The Hague!"

Team Malizia's A Race We Must Win - Climate Action Now! mission is only possible due to the strong and long-lasting commitment from its seven main partners: Schütz, the Yacht Club de Monaco, EFG International, Zurich Group Germany, Kuehne+Nagel, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, and Hapag-Lloyd. These partners band behind Team Malizia to support its campaign, each of them working towards projects in their own field to innovate around climate solutions.

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