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Team Malizia saves the best for last with a win in Leg 7 of The Ocean Race

by The Ocean Race 27 Jun 2023 08:05 PDT 25 June 2023

Team Malizia found a way to grab a last-minute win in leg 7 of The Ocean Race, saving the best for last.

On the waters off the finish port of Genova, skipper Boris Herrmann and his crew boldly grabbed the leg lead in extremely light and variable conditions at 0600 UTC on Tuesday morning, by virtue of heading close to shore and picking up a gentle breeze by the land.

This allowed them to ease past Team Holcim-PRB, who had led for the majority of the leg from The Hague to Genova, as well as Biotherm, and win their second leg of The Ocean Race.

"I'm very happy and very proud of this team. It's been a privilege to work with all of them," said skipper Boris Herrmann, reflecting on the end of his around the world race. "We have the most sailors who completed the full race and Rosie is the only female to do the whole lap of the planet."

"It's incredible to finish the leg to Genova in first place," said Rosie Kuiper. "I still can't believe it. We have done a lap around the world, pushing ourselves day in and day out and to finish like this is so special... lt's been a crazy adventure and we had such a good time. We will miss each other and miss being out at sea together."

Following the finish of Malizia, the wind nearly died completely, leaving Paul Meilhat's Biotherm and Benjamin Schwartz and his Holcim-PRB crew to play a very downspeed chess match to get to the finish line.

At the end, it was Biotherm who were able to glide across in second place on leg 7, leaving Team Holcim-PRB to claim third place, an unfortunate result after leading for so much of the leg.

"It was a really close race even if only with three boats," said Meilhat once his team reached the dock. "Congratulations to Malizia - they took a risk during the night and it worked. We knew from the start that it would all come down to the last moments in front of Genova and this is how it happened."

On the other hand, third place was a disappointment for Team Holcim-PRB.

"It could have been better as unfortunately we are finishing third today," Schwartz said on final approach to the line. "Biotherm and Malizia, we couldn't cover them at one point and they managed to escape and here we are after leading the race for the last 12 days and finishing in the last position of the group, so it's a bit disappointing. But we are happy to be here in Genova and it was a great leg, we really enjoyed it, so we have to remember this too."

The two other IMOCA teams in the fleet, 11th Hour Racing Team and GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, were forced to retire from racing shortly after the start, following a collision.

And this means the overall leaderboard for the IMOCA fleet in The Ocean Race remains 'provisional' awaiting the Request for Redress that has been filed by 11th Hour Racing Team after being hit just after the start by GUYOT environnement - Team Europe, who acknowledged responsibility for the incident.

The World Sailing International Jury will hear the Redress request on Thursday. With today's results, Charlie Enright's 11th Hour Racing Team is just one point behind Team Holcim-PRB, so any award of redress of one point or more will give the team overall victory in The Ocean Race.

Check the leaderboard for both fleets here

VO65 Sprint

The first boat to finish in Genova on Tuesday - just minutes ahead of Malizia - was Team JAJO, with skipper Jelmer van Beek sliding home just over 24 hours after WindWhisper Racing Team won the VO65 Sprint.

"We always said this leg was going to come down to the very end, the last night, and I'm so proud of the team for pulling it off because every day was a battle," van Beek said. "In the end we were on the right side of it. We're really happy!"

The second place finish into Genova ensures Team JAJO has locked up second place in the VO65 Sprint leaderboard.

Viva México then had their best result of the VO65 Sprint, a third place podium finish that was a long time coming, with the dying breeze prolonging their day.

"It's been an amazing leg for Viva México," said skipper Erik Brockmann. "We are happy with a podium finish and to be in Genova is an amazing feeling."

Behind them, the light conditions have also enveloped Mirpuri/Trifork Racing Team and Austrian Ocean Racing powered by Team Genova who continue racing on Tuesday afternoon - very slowly - towards Genova.

The latest positions are on the Race Tracker and the leaderboard is available here.

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