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September 2023

Boris Herrmann and Team Malizia are back on the water

by Boris Herrmann Racing 5 Sep 06:59 BST
Malizia - Seaexplorer being rolled out of the shed after undergoing a summer refit © Jimmy Horel / Team Malizia

After a short six week summer refit, Boris Herrmann and his Malizia - Seaexplorer are back on the water in Lorient and ready to finish the 2023 race season.

Team Malizia's technical team has been hard at work over the summer to prepare its Malizia - Seaexplorer for the rest of the 2023 race calendar. With The Ocean Race finishing at the end of June 2023 - Boris Herrmann's team has had six weeks to prepare the yacht for the next races. The hard work paid off and the technical team was able to launch their race yacht on time this Monday evening in Lorient, Brittany.

The aim of the refit was to repair the wear and tear from the last six months of racing around the world and to make some modifications to the boat to be sailed single-handed. Although nothing major has changed, there have been some interesting additions such as a new captain's chair which has been created to perfectly fit Boris Herrmann's height and size. This chair is where the German skipper will be able to navigate from and also sit in look out during the long sailing of The Vendée Globe. The ergonomics of the boat are incredibly important on this around the race which will start again in November 2024. In order to make life on board as easy and streamlined as possible the team has made sleeping easier with the ability to use only one bunk bed no matter which tack the boat is on and also to make a new kitchen in the aft cockpit next to the navigation station so Boris can navigate and cook at the same time to reduce having to move around as much.

On being back in Lorient for the boat launch, Boris Herrmann commented: "It is great to be back in France after having the summer off. After such a full on and busy year I needed some downtime but I am excited to be back and to get stuck back into training. We now know our boat really well but it will be interesting to see her against the other IMOCAs that didn't participate in The Ocean Race. We have made a few changes which are mostly ergonomic and a few smaller performance changes. I will miss sailing in the full crewed formation but it will be good to get some single and double-handed practice in with Will Harris over the course of the next months and to be able to welcome our fans and partners to continue following the adventure."

There will now commence a two week rigorous training schedule where Boris Herrmann and co-skipper Will Harris will put the boat through its paces in preparation for the Défi Azimut race. The 48-hour double-handed race starts on 21st September 2023 and is a key moment for the team and the boat as it will line up against all the other boats in the fleet for the first time after having become a fully tested IMOCA. Although the boat has proven herself around the world in The Ocean Race, the team have not yet sailed against the majority of the other race boats or the newly-launched boats of the fleet. The duo will be joined by onboard reporter Antoine Auriol (AKA The Fly Captain) who will be documenting the 48h sprint!

Will Harris, Boris Herrmann's British co-skipper who recently won the Rookie Award at the end of The Ocean Race commented: "I am ready to get back on the water and put the boat to the test against the whole fleet. We have learnt so much in doing The Ocean Race and created a strong reliable race boat which we want to perfect even further for Boris' Vendée Globe in just over a years time."

The race year continues at the end of October with the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre Le Havre Normandie race which will see Boris Herrmann and Will Harris battle it out together from Le Havre in France across the Atlantic Ocean to Martinique. This race will be followed by a solo return race back to Lorient near the end of November 2023 to close the 2023 race year.

The team continue its A Race We Must Win - Climate Action Now! mission with each of the races being an opportunity to collect more rare Ocean CO2 data and the chance to communicate about the changes to the Ocean around the world. Equally, the team's first My Ocean Challenge kids events since the summer are starting this week in Hamburg at the Deichtorhallen where the kids' collective artwork created around the world will be shown for the first time. The events continue on the 19 September in Lorient with a visit from a local French school to the boat.

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