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Boris Herrmann and Will Harris to race the 48-hour Défi Azimut

by Team Malizia 21 Sep 21:01 BST
Boris Herrmann and Will Harris, along with onboard reporter Antoine Auriol, are back onboard Malizia - Seaexplorer © Boris Herrmann / Team Malizia

They are off for 48 hours of racing in the Atlantic: Team Malizia's Boris Herrmann and Will Harris crossed the start line of the Défi Azimut offshore race today which sees them compete against 32 IMOCAs in Atlantic waters.

Team Malizia's Boris Herrmann, Will Harris, and onboard reporter Antoine Auriol crossed the start line of the Défi Azimut's 48-hour offshore race this Thursday. The crew onboard Malizia - Seaexplorer is racing a 610 nautical mile loop in the Atlantic, from Brittany down to the Bay of Biscay, against 32 other IMOCA boats, and is expected to arrive back in Lorient this Saturday.

Taking place every year over the course of six days, the Défi Azimut is one of the highlights in Brittany's IMOCA calendar. The French city of Lorient is the home port of about 20 boats from the IMOCA fleet and where a lot of the IMOCA expertise, as well as where Team Malizia's hangar is located. The impressive number of boats comes as no surprise as the Défi Azimut is the last match before the Transat Jacques Vabre - Le Havre Normandie 2023 and counts in the IMOCA GLOBE SERIES 2021-25 Championship Series. For Team Malizia, it is the first competition since The Ocean Race 2022-23 which ended in July, and a good training for Boris Herrmann and Will Harris who will be sailing double-handed in the Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre to Martinique in just over a month's time.

As if to remind them of the great times, the shore crew played the team's Ocean Race song "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen just before the dock-off. Near the start line, the members from the tech team onboard conducted the usual final checks and kept an eye on the boats around whilst Boris Herrmann and Will Harris focussed on discussing the strategy for the start. Axelle Pillain, who sailed in Leg 6 of The Ocean Race and is part of the tech team, was the last one to jump off Malizia - Seaexplorer a few minutes before the start. At 12:30 pm sharp, the fleet made its way under a hazy sky mixing timid sunny spells and thick clouds but with the wind lighter than forecast. Team Malizia crossed the line in a good position and managed to make their way up the ranking as the fleet sailed south to the first mark before turning west towards mark 2.

Over the course of the 48-hour race, Antoine Auriol is capturing both photos and videos to tell the story of the race and to make fans worldwide feel like they are back onboard their favorite boat with its beloved crew.

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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