The fulfillment of a childhood dream
German skipper Boris Herrmann on board Seaexplorer-Yacht Club of Monaco, completed his first Vendee Globe on Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 11:19:45, after 80 days 14 hours 59 minutes and 45 seconds, in an honorable 5th position in real time after 24,296 nautical miles of racing. Boris was quoted saying: “The Vendee Globe is not a race of pure speed, but a mental race. I did it. It transformed me.”
The official winner of the 9th edition of the legendary Vendee Globe was Yannick Bestaven from La Rochelle on board Maitre Coq crossing the final line in a highly agitated sea, welcomed by a fireworks display, followed in 2nd place by Charlie Dalvin on Apivia and Louis Burton 3rd on board Bureau Valle. There were 33 sailors who departed Les Sables d’Olonne on November 8, 2020, of which 8 abandoned during this very challenging course.
It was a superb result for Boris, taking into account the last part was really difficult for the skipper, who had been in a collision with a fishing boat 90 nautical miles (around 160km) from the finish and had been a serious contender to victory. Boris showed resilience and determination in repairing the starboard foil, bowsprit and shroud, and managed to finish the race on 5th place. He became the first German in the history of the Vendee Globe to finish this demanding race.
His wife Birte and their seven-month-old daughter Marie-Louise welcomed Boris in a very moving reunion after so many weeks in solitary at sea. The sailor sounded very emotional when he said:“It’s really been a joint effort and I can’t wait to celebrate with all the members of the team. It’s the best moment of any race. Of course, what happened yesterday evening (Wednesday) was heartbreaking for me but all’s well that ends well. I’m happy with my position given the circumstance. I finished in a good place. The damage to the boat is repairable, there’s nothing that affects the structure so its’ not too bad. The Vendee Globe has changed me – I’m not sure in what way yet. It certainly gave me a lot in terms of patience. You have to wait 80 days to finish the race so it’s a great feeling when you do. I have accomplished the adventure. I’ve been waiting for this for more than 20 years, it was a childhood dream! The Vendee Globe is something extraordinary. I came to Les Sables d’Olonne to see several starts of the race. And now I’ve done it! It feels really good to fulfill this dream!”
Congratulations from Monaco sports stars
Many were the congratulation video messages sent by key figures in sport and personalities who are very attached to the Principality, including former F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg, nine-time World Champion rally co-pilot Daniel Elena, freediving world record holder Pierre Frolla, tennis players Novak Djokovic, Mischa and Alexander Zverev, adventurer Mike Horn, AS Monaco striker Kevin Volland, and Giovanni Soldini – it was in 2013 on Maserati skippered by Soldini that Boris and Pierre met during the Cape2Rio. All sent a personal message saluting Boris’ extraordinary achievement.
For the love of the ocean
All this time, Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco), a member of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, managed to continue his other mission. An autonomous laboratory on board, controlled by Boris, has been operating 24/7 collecting data from water samples and transmitting them to scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Géomar in Kiel and Ifremer in Brest. Data on air and water temperatures, salinity, PH and CO2 from oceans around the world has been collected, with that from remote regions which scientists are not always able to reach being of particular interest.
Boris’s commitment is palpable and reflected in the name of the boat, as Seaexplorer is a reference to a Kuehne + Nagel led initiative to measure the impact of CO2 emissions in the shipping freight sector. Reducing emissions is also the goal of another initiative, initiated by the Yacht Club of Monaco and mobilising the luxury yacht sector, which established the Superyacht Eco Association (SEA) Index, a benchmark for measuring the environmental impact of 40+m yachts.
Unflappable, poised and discreet, Boris reflects to perfection the values of the Principality in carrying his message about protecting the oceans. He has also undoubtedly inspired children all over the world to discover new vocations, as evidenced by the many messages he has received from them during this legendary round the world race.
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” Louisa May Alcott