Kiel Fly-By, Team Malizia. © Sailing Energy / The Ocean Race
Friday Fly By in Kiel attracts enormous crowd to cheer on Imoca fleet
The last time The Ocean Race was in Kiel, was on 9 June, 2002, and the German team, illbruck, was being celebrated for winning the Volvo Ocean Race. In the crowd was a young German sailor beginning his career - Boris Herrmann - and the event made a lasting impressions.
“I used to live in Kiel, I finished my studies there, I sailed and trained a lot there, so I have a great connection to the city," Herrmann said in anticipation of today's events. "I also experienced The Ocean Race myself there in 2002 with the legendary victory of the Illbruck. I was on the water and remember that day as if it was yesterday."
Today, The Ocean Race returned to Kiel for a Friday afternoon Fly By, and the crowds were out in force to cheer on Herrmann, now the skipper of Team Malizia.
"Racing into the Kieler Innenförde with my team and boat, after having sailed around the world, and seeing the many fans expected there is something I am really looking forward to," he said.
On Friday the competitive advantage went to Charlie Enright's 11th Hour Racing Team, leading the fleet into the Fjord, around the turning mark and back out to sea, with a Sunday finish in The Hague the next objective. Team Holcim-PRB and Biotherm weren't far behind.
But the love and affection from the crowd in Kiel was for the final two boats, Herrmann's Malizia and GUYOT environnement - Team Europe with German Olympian Robert Stanjek and national champion Phillip Kasüske on board.
"Look at how many boats there are, it's unbelievable," Herrmann said with a big smile as his team made their way up the fjord. "This is very, very nice. This moment has been a big motivation for us the entire race."
VO65s speeding down the coast of Norway
In the VO65 fleet, the racing has been fast after making the turn at the Langesund marker just off the coast of Norway. Pablo Arrarte's WindWhisper Racing Team led the fleet around the mark and remains in a close battle with the Mirpuri / Trifork Racing Team. Further back, three teams have split away, staying close to the coast, led by Team JAJO.
"It's been tough since the start," said Joy Fitzgerald on Team JAJO. It was a really long first night, with a lot of manouevres, a lot of sail changes, and so we're all just trying to catch up on a bit of sleep now.
"We've had no wind, a little wind and then we had all the wind! It was pretty wet on deck as well!!"
As of 1600 UTC on Friday, the VO65 fleet is charging south towards an offshore turning mark, before heading back towards the west coast of Denmark and then being freed up to head to the finish in The Hague, with an ETA on Sunday 11 June.