VG2020 : Boris Herrmann lets it go

With measured steps, Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco) crossed the South Seas by hand, without causing fortune. Here he is, perched on a boat he announces in perfect working order, equipped with latest generation foils, in third place in the Vendée Globe behind Charlie Dalin (Apivia), leader full of authority and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2 ).

Four years ago, when the Vendée Globe took off, Boris Herrmann watched his future boat, which was then called Edmond-de-Rothschild, sailed by Sébastien Josse. The German navigator had already set his sights on the IMOCA designed by the engineering tandem Verdier-VPLP and which Seb Josse kept at the forefront just behind the two sharpest arrows of this edition, Armel Le Cléac’h and Alex Thomson … Until its abandonment, in Australia, after a water leak was declared in a foil well, the last and the most problematic of these damages which had flown in a squadron above this beautiful project.

Since then, Team Malizia, the team of Pierre Casiraghi – the nephew of Prince Albert of Monaco – has converted to IMOCA and the helm has been entrusted to Boris Herrmann. A little for the friendship between them, a lot for the sporting potential of the native of Hamburg, who only needed ad-hoc support to express himself. Since then, too, Malizia has been renamed SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, and she was decked out with new foils last winter, designed by VPLP, and slightly advanced in order to promote the precocity of the flight. It is therefore a boat whose pedigree brings it closer to the last winners of the Vendée Globe (Banque Populaire in 2016, Macif in 2012) and which, in this astonishing Vendée Globe, whose mischievous weather has put the flamboyant boats almost on an equal footing new and IMOCA with straight drifts from the 2008 edition, has the finery of the perfect compromise.

Older, but valid

All this to say that there is little chance to find Boris Herrmann in the top 3 of this Vendée Globe when the boats are bowed down to the doldrums. The 37-year-old skipper has already been around the world, in Class40, of course, but he already had an idea of ​​what to expect. The boat itself has been put to the test by six years of reliability and, for the time being, it has been rather spared from technical problems – for all we know. This is the only coincidence that has contributed to Boris Herrmann’s emergence to the fore in this Vendée Globe. With two valid foils and an a priori preserved sail plan, the Hamburg skipper will do more than resist the skippers perched on latest generation IMOCAs, namely Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut), deprived of a port foil which he already lacks and Charlie Dalin (Apivia) who suffers from a similar disability. Boris does not have to be ashamed either of his performances against the Master CoQ IV of Yannick Bestaven, breathtaking for three weeks on the ex-Safran of Morgan Lagravière, punished by the weather and deprived of his 450 miles lead. there are five days without knowing whether it is divine justice or earthly pettiness …

Challenge in the air

All this to say that, in the 3:00 p.m. classification on Friday January 15, at – go – eleven or twelve days from the arrival at sight of early routing, Boris Herrmann challenges the leader of this Vendée Globe and his new boat and Louis Burton, riding the title-winning boat.

The three should pass in that order at Recife in the early evening. The two French sailors will pass in front of this unofficial marker of the race carried by easterly trade winds of around 13 knots, taking advantage of the currents which carry them towards the equator and benefiting, if they were brought to approach the coast, afternoon thermals. Located 25 miles to their east, Boris Herrmann will have less current, 0.1 knots against 0.4 to 0.6 knots.

“We entered the final sprint, in regatta mode,” said the skipper of Team Malizia today to his communications team. I have the conditions I dreamed of. I am heading due north with a heading of 1 °. I try to use 100% of the potential of the boat and my foils unlike Thomas and Charlie, who have their foils damaged. With 13 knots of wind, I’m currently sailing at 15.6 knots, I’m really super happy. We sail very tight with the others. It’s really exciting to play so much just under 4,000 nautical miles from the finish. But there is still a long way to go, with two decisive stages in particular: passing through the Doldrums and sailing up the North Atlantic. It remains very open, this end of the race promises to be very exciting! “.

Behind, we hang on! Thomas Ruyant is 4th, 55.3 miles behind the leader in the 3pm standings; Damien Seguin (APICIL Group) is 5th on his optimized 2008 boat, but still equipped with straight daggerboards. A performance that made Yoann Richomme, winner of the Solitaire du Figaro, skipper of an Ocean Race project (Mirpuri Foundation) and very keen observer of this Vendée Globe, say that “Damien Seguin is becoming a sport legend” *… And that we can only abound.

Punished from the West, Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) concedes some distance in the squall lines: here he is 105.3 miles from the lead, who hit more regular trade winds first. And, for now, with a Doldrums to negotiate, then a transition from before depression and the uncertainty that still hangs over the angle of the depression that will take the fleet to Les Sables-d’Olonne from here a few days, we can consider that Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA – Water Family), Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group) and Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) – especially Jean le Cam! – are not disconnected from the race for places that matter!

Will the Occitane rise soon?

If they are still slowed down, Armel Tripon (L’Occitane en Provence) and Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire) should lose less time than feared in the calm that slows them down at the entrance of the first trade winds. They may set off before Romain Attanasio (Pure – Best Western), launched at 14.4 knots, comes back into their transom.

Behind the group which still “plays” with the ice zone (Beyou, Roura, Boissières) or which cuts the pear in two (Pip Hare), Didac Costa (One Planet One Ocean) and Stéphane le Diraison (Time for Oceans) have tried their luck by the Strait of Le Maire, and it seemed to smile on them. Strained since passing Cape Horn last night, Manuel Cousin (Groupe Sétin) is waiting for a gust of wind to set off again. From Cape Horn, Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) and Clément Giraud (Compagnie du Lit – Jiliti) are “only” just over 500 miles away. Alexia Barrier (TSE – 4myPlanet) is getting closer to point Nemo, but not alone: ​​Sam Davies is heading just ahead of her, out of the race. Further on, Ari Huusela (Stark) advances very north, and Sébastien Destremau (thank you) tries to get rid of his avalanche of technical problems).

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Armel Tripon – L’Occitane en Provence

I don’t think I’m doing badly, I always walked, sometimes slowly, but it was always a little bit windy. The exit is not very far. Here, I’m in a northeast wind, it should ease and shift to the east. Then I’ll be on the right side of the high pressure. We have to get out and go north, it is on the right track. It (the trade winds) look more stable than the first ones. The Atlantic was one of the strategic points of the race where I knew I could come back strong. The South Atlantic has not been very favorable. There was a little bit of gain, but then some loss. We’ll see how far I go, but for sure some are crippled and I still have a 100% boat so I know I can attack and go fast. I don’t know yet if I will be able to make up for all this. I pulled the boat upwind and it took the knocks well. He’s tough, I know I can shoot him to finish.

Clarisse Crémer – Banque Populaire X

I don’t have a lot of technical experience with big boats, I’m not very good at climbing the mast, maybe it took more effort than the other competitors. I spent the day there and it wasn’t easy. I went over it several times, emptied all the sika tubes I had on board and spent a lot of energy. I have a competitive spirit, that’s why I wanted to repair my J2 so that I could go as quickly as possible with my boat. I didn’t necessarily expect to be here when I started and I’m happy with the choices I made. There is still a little bit of road left, I don’t want to get too excited to keep this way of sailing.

Stéphane Le Diraison – Time For Oceans

Since passing Cape Horn, which was an exceptional moment, there have been 12 hours of emotional discharge. I was coming out of the Pacific and wanted to be quiet. I took responsibility for under-canvasing the boat, I took time for myself, to rest, to eat, to dry myself, to tidy up the inside of the boat and it did me the greatest good. Then, at the state island level, it was time to make a choice about which option I was going to take. At that point, I told myself that I was going to move east of the Falklands, staying on a conventional pattern, and shifting as far east as possible. Halfway through, with the update of the weather files, I saw that the depression that barred our way was still strong. Going upwind in there was a bad idea for me. So I changed my mind, it cost me 50 miles, but it allowed me to admire the scenery. It contrasts with those 66 days at sea where I had seen nothing except Macquarie Island. It’s fun and it gives you the feeling of being on an adventure. Since the end of the deep south, it has not been the same in terms of sea conditions. It is now a little bit manageable. It makes me feel like it’s easy, there are no more monsters rolling in. Another extremely positive point is that the temperatures are rising. It’s not the hottest weather yet, but I can do without the hat when I’m inside, I’m no longer freezing with the cold when I take out my sleeping bag, it’s really nicer sailing conditions. And then inevitably by heading north, each day will be a little better than the last.

Rankings at 3pm French Time

  1. Charlie Dalin, Apivia, à 3 759,92 miles from finish
  2. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallée 2, 19,06 miles from leader
  3. Boris Herrmann, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco, 37,54 miles from leader
  4. Thomas Ruyant, LinkedOut, 55,32 miles from leader
  5. Damien Seguin, Groupe APICIL, 60,61 miles from leader

Photo Credit : B.Herrmann

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