Malizia, Biotherm and 11th Hour Racing Team were involved in a big battle for multiple days leading up to the scoring gate in the record-breaking 12,750-nautcial mile leg.
Having nearly retired from the race two weeks ago, due to a broken mast, Harris made an incredible fix and Malizia edged out Biotherm to take four points at the scoring gate on Sunday night as the pair chase leaders Team Holcim-PRB.
“I am so happy, so relieved that we managed to come away with second place,” said Harris. “It has been such a fight to even still be in the race after having to fix the mast a week and a half ago and not being sure we could continue, and now we are here crossing the line in second.
“This has been some of the closest offshore racing I have ever done, we crossed 11th Hour Racing within only 200 metres.
“It is a big relief that we have crossed the line second, we have proved our potential, I can sleep well tonight and then look forward to the Pacific. I am really so happy!”
11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright added: “These conditions really suit them [Malizia]. We’ve been doing a nice job, but it’s hard.
“We’ve been sailing for 5000 miles and it’s going to come down to these last couple hundred.”
Subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council, the new mark is now held by Holcim-PRB, who topped did 595.26 nautical miles on Saturday into Sunday.
Holcim-PRB did build up a lead of over 500nm at one point in the leg, but their advantage has slowly diminished.
However, the gap has stabled and they are 130nm ahead of Malizia as of Monday at 15:00 GMT.
“From the start in Cape Town to this scoring gate I think we’ve done very well to keep the other boats behind us,” said skipper Kevin Escoffier.
“We’ve also had an amazing 24-hour record. So I’m very happy with the boat, very happy with the crew and I think we deserve to enjoy, but now it’s back to work.”
Biotherm crossed the 143 degrees east longitude line in fourth place to take two points after dropping time to the others on Sunday.
But, they are already back in third place as of Monday afternoon, which Paul Meilhat wasn’t pleased about.
“We are a bit disappointed of course, as one day before the finish they both got in front of us,” said Meilhat. “But on the other side, we are learning a lot and improving our speed all the time.
“I always remember that we have been the last boat to launch and so we aren’t at the same level of preparation, so the positive thing is we have sailed across the Indian Ocean and now we have the Pacific ahead of us and this is why we do this race.”
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