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Team Malizia's Boris Herrmann gains ground at full speed and claims top 3 ranking in Transat CIC

by Team Malizia 3 May 11:04 PDT 3 May 2024
Boris Herrmann has gained ground and taken third place on Day 5 of The Transat CIC race © Boris Herrmann / Team Malizia

After overcoming technical challenges, Team Malizia's skipper is back to full-speed racing in The Transat CIC solo challenge from Lorient to New York. Boris Herrmann has made significant mileage gains in the past two days, and has now grabbed third place in the ranking. With just under 1,300 nautical miles remaining, the Malizia - Seaexplorer skipper is focussing on sailing the best race possible, and keeping an eye on nearby competitors and the two boats not too far ahead of him.

It has been an incredibly tough, but equally thrilling race so far. On day 5 of The Transat CIC, the fleet of IMOCA boats continues to race side by side in the North Atlantic, promising an intense competition until the finish line in New York. Team Malizia's Boris Herrmann, initially in tenth place after the start in Lorient, has successfully repaired a one-meter tear in his mainsail, and made significant mileage gains over the past 48 hours. He has now grabbed third place, after racing neck and neck with Samantha Davies on board Initiatives Cœur. Yoann Richomme on Paprec Arkéa took the lead yesterday, with Charlie Dalin aboard Macif Santé Prévoyance now in second.

"The top 4 boats presently represent: 4 boat architects, 3 nationalities, 2 sailmakers, and 1 goal", noticed skipper Boris Herrmannn. Since Wednesday night, the German skipper has been steadily closing the gap with the front of the fleet, a remarkable performance considering he had to slow down on Day 3 to repair his mainsail.

Like nearly all skippers, Boris Herrmann has described the initial stages of the race as particularly grueling. Battling upwind in strong winds and large waves for the first three days, he encountered a setback on the evening of Day 2 when he noticed a 1-meter rip in his mainsail. Despite the challenges, the German sailor managed to hold on until the lighter winds of Day 3 allowed him to effect repairs. On Wednesday afternoon, Boris Herrmann slowed his Malizia - Seaexplorer, lowered his mainsail, and proceeded to repair the tear with cloth and sika glue. Though satisfied with repair, the Malizia skipper opted to give the sika glue enough time to strengthen, as he didn't want to risk rushing the process by hoisting the main and putting load on the repair too early. Consequently, he was slower than intended and lost some ground.

However, once confident in the repair, Boris Herrmann powered ahead at full throttle. With the next front having arrived, he sailed at high speeds through the night, and hasn't really slowed down since. By Friday afternoon, Boris Herrmann had climbed up the ranking to fourth place, sailing just one nautical mile behind Sam Davies. By 16:00 UTC (18:00 CEST), Boris Herrmann grabbed third place. Over the last four hours, he has maintained an impressive average speed of 22 knots, trailing Charlie Dalin by less than 14 miles and leader Yoann Richomme by approximately 70 nautical miles.

"So far in this race I have always had a competitor on the AIS", commented Boris Herrmann earlier this afternoon. "I am enjoying matching someone directly most days since the mark off South Brittany. First it was Justine Mettraux, now it's Sam Davies who I have been seeing for the past 24 hours. I can see her doing sail changes, see the changes coming and down, so I can anticipate and compare my speed. It's really motivating to have boats around closely, and see what's going on."

The Team Malizia skipper continued: "Today was quite an enjoyable day, it got a little bit light and I jibed last night. Then I went a little south, a little bit deeper, to get a better angle, and I think that's when I gained some miles. I don't follow the news of the race as I am a little in my own world, life is good, it is bouncy for sure, but it is very warm today for sure, hot. With all the windows the boat is a little bit of a greenhouse. I would rather be too hot than too cold! That is good news for the South in the future. The conditions are a bit like the Southern Ocean."

"Everything is still to play for", said Team Malizia's co-skipper Will Harris earlier today. "With less than 1,300 nautical miles to go, small gaps between the boats, and potentially a few options to catch up, the race will remain very exciting. The fleet has been sailing around a very intense low pressure, with winds exceeding 40 knots and big seas yesterday. The fleet unanimously jibed towards the center of the low to get the best shift, allowing them to now sail downwind directly towards the finish line."

The British sailor added: "There's another low-pressure system currently developing in the East and heading towards the fleet. In 24 hours or so, we could see the fleet navigating above it, above the light, messy winds. However, the boats will be limited by the cetacean exclusion zone, meaning they cannot enter the area but can sail as close to it as they want, which could lead to numerous manoeuvers. Once the low pressure passes east of the fleet, their next encounter, not long before the finish, will be a big band of high pressure, sort of a long extended ridge bringing very light winds. The boats will have to sail through it, likely resulting in a compressing of the fleet, as the boats behind sail in favourable northeasterly winds while those ahead end up in lighter winds."

With all the team's eyes glued to the tracker, Will Harris concluded: "Let's see how Boris gets on in the final 3 days or so. The podium is far from decided."

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: Kuehne+Nagel, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, Hapag-Lloyd, Schütz, the Yacht Club de Monaco, EFG International, and Zurich Group Germany. 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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