Hamburg's Boris Herrmann and his team Malizia are sailing for victory on the queen's stage of the Ocean Race. In the stormy endurance test on the Cape Hoorn course, the German racing yacht "Malizia - Seaexplorer" took the lead again. After 15 lead changes in six days, the fleet of four boats is still close together in increasing winds: On the 26th day at sea, Team Malizia defended a lead of 14 nautical miles over around 1200 nautical miles to Cape Hoorn in front of the Swiss team Holcim- PRB.
A stormy summit storm to Cape Horn lies ahead of the crews. In winds of around 30 (55.56 km/h) and gusts of up to 40 knots (74.08 km/h), the racing yachts of the Imoca type are particularly troubled by the heavy seas with waves up to eight meters high. "It's perhaps the toughest passage so far," said race director Phil Lawrence, who described the conditions as "aggressive".
His team has now moved the ice boundary north four times. For safety reasons, boats in the Southern Ocean are not allowed to cross the imaginary line to the south. It runs only about 100 nautical miles south of Cape Horn because pieces of ice that have broken off from Antarctica are being sighted further north. "These ice packs move fast and can do a lot of damage," Lawrence explained.
Herrmann and his team feel comfortable in their boat, which was specially designed for such strong wind conditions. Herrmann said: "The boat jumps, hits and we experience speeds of 30 knots. I feel good, confident and we're leading.” Cape Hoorn is expected to pass the Ocean Race quartet on March 27th. Hermann became known to a large public through his participation in the solo circumnavigation of the world Vendée Globe, and he wants to be there again at the next event.