Battling in all fronts with the ambition to reach the podium
On Monday November 20, 2017, at 11.06.53 precisely, the Yacht Club of Monaco flagship Malizia II, the first Monegasque IMOCA 60’ to compete in the Transat Jacques Vabre, crossed the finish line of the 13th edition of this double-hander race to take 4th in the IMOCA category. They arrived to Salvador de Bahia just one day after the Monaco National Day.
Skippered by the duo of Boris Herrmann (German)/Thomas Ruyant (French), and supervised from shore by Pierre Casiraghi, the 60’ (18.28m) mono-hull took 14 days 21 hours 31 minutes 53 seconds to cover the theoretical course of 4,350 nautical miles from Le Havre at an average speed of 12.18 knots, actually sailing 4,805nm at an average 13.44 knots. The winner in this category was experienced sailor Jean-Pierre Dick paired with Yann Eliès (St Michel-Virbac).
From the start on November 5, in Le Havre with other 73 competitors, the Malizia II – Yacht Club de Monaco pair made incisive tactical choices, and were the furthest north as they approached a weather front that affected them even earlier than St Michel-Virbac. Unfortunately, the Monegasque team were troubled by a myriad of technical issues with sails and electronics, that obliged them to fall to 8th position just above the Canaries where they repaired their weather vane aerial. Then they managed to recover four places before reaching the Equator, challenging Des Voiles et Vous! on entering the Doldrums, but their ambition to reach the podium vanished as they exited the convergence zone which closed on them as the three leaders took flight.
(Photo insert: Celebration 4th place in Imoca category for Malizia II, skippers Boris Herrmann and Thomas Ruyant, during arrivals of the duo sailing race Transat Jacques Vabre 2017 from Le Havre (FRA) to Salvador de Bahia (BRA), November 20, 2017 @ Jean-Marie Liot / ALeA / TJV17)
“It was a fantastic race. I was expecting it to be rather like that. It was incredibly intense; we were battling on all fronts, constantly trimming the sails and couldn’t relax for a second. Of course, on this great boat we could have been on the podium. We probably made a few minor tactical errors. Despite our technical problems, we knew what to do and stayed totally focused and motivated. With only one weather vane giving partial information, we were mainly sailing on instinct. We are happy with the result. I learned a lot being with Thomas,” explained Boris Herrmann on arrival.
“What’s great is that we never gave up, even though we got stuck. We fought hard, we came back, we got stuck again, and again we regained ground. I enjoyed it enormously. These are truly incredible machines. We both sailed well. I think Boris will be a serious contender for the next Vendée Globe. That’s all I want for him, all that I want also, even if we’re not there yet!” said Thomas Ruyant.
In the end, it was an excellent result for Malizia II, a VPLP Verdier design, (ex-Gitana), who only arrived in her new home port of Monaco last June, an initiative of Pierre Casiraghi, Vice-President of the Yacht Club de Monaco. The skippers defending the colors of the Principality proved great adaptation with little navigation compared to other more seasoned competitors, managing to find their own rhythm facing more experienced crews, like the three IMOCA favorites who made the podium. This is only the beginning of a great adventure!
“When the sound of flying fish fades, we hear the samba schools in Salvador.” Pierre Lacaze, co-skipper Vivo A Beira (Imoca) Transat Jacques Vabre 2017