Last week, Team Malizia must have wondered what else leg 3 of The Ocean Race could throw at them, so they were hugely relieved to see that the repairs have been successful and they have finally been able to pick up the pace and get into the rhythm of life at sea.
Team Holcim PRB still have a commanding lead, but the hunt for points is on, with Team Malizia gaining ground and reaching speeds of up to 30 knots at times. They are currently in 4th place and conditions are relatively smooth. Skipper Boris Herrmann is enjoying the respite, saying "it's pretty nice to cross the ocean like this - it's one of the best days of Leg 3. Smooth seas, not too much wind, no stress...". If you want to see what a smooth sea state looks like, you can hop on board Air Malizia and see the boat Malizia - Seaexplorer from a totally different perspective here!
Changeable weather systems ahead mean the fleet is expected to compress further as they approach Cape Leeuwin, Australia’s most south-westerly place and the first scoring gate south of Tasmania, where points are awarded for the order in which they cross. The route takes the fleet very close to the Antarctic ice exclusion zone, an imaginary line enforced by the race organisers to protect the boats from hitting potential icebergs. Due to the curvature of the Earth, the further south the boats sail, the shorter the race, but as always, it’s vital to balance speed and performance with the need to protect the boats from the elements.
The Southern Ocean plays a vital role in the planet’s climate infrastructure and very few scientific research vessels can access its more remote areas. As part of their ‘A Race We Must Win’ mission, this week Team Malizia deployed a drifter buoy in the Southern Ocean, which transmits data on water temperature, oxygen levels and pollution to meteorological organisations, weather forecasters and scientists. The data then helps them better understand ocean health and the implications of climate change.
Getting back into the rhythm of the race after a series of long, consecutive days repairing the boat was a challenge for Team Malizia, but one they needed to achieve to perform at the highest level and conserve energy. With around 3 weeks still to go in leg 3, there is plenty of racing left and the added incentive of double points, so go Team Malizia!
You can follow all the action on the race tracker here.