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 along the coast.
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 finishing 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 Malzia, 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.
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