Boris Herrmann, back in the Principality


Monaco, 22nd March 2021 – Boris Herrmann was back in the Principality of Monaco for the first time since he crossed the Vendée Globe finish line on Thursday 28th January 2021 at 11:10:45 (French time), after 80 days, 14 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds of racing on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco. Yacht Club de Monaco members had the privilege of attending a meeting with the sailor who was accompanied by YCM Vice-President Pierre Casiraghi, who instigated the project and founded Team Malizia. YCM President, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who was in Les Sables d’Olonne to greet Boris Herrmann at the finish, was also present, the perfect opportunity to present the sailor with his honorary membership card: “I wish to thank Boris again, most sincerely for all that he has accomplished, but also to thank the whole Malizia team who under Pierre Casiraghi’s leadership have been behind this project for more than four years.”



Vendée Globe: the dream of a lifetime

After looking back at how their collaboration began, Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann spent nearly two hours giving a blow by blow account of the adventure much to the delight of YCM members present, keen to dwell on every aspect of this extraordinary human and sporting challenge. And Boris did not hold back on the details – from managing sleep, the constant noise that drives even the most seasoned sailor mad, the little treats he gave himself to break up the monotony of freeze-dried food, and anecdotes galore enriched the exchanges with members.
The adventure started many years before the start: “I’ve been dreaming about it since I was 16,” he says, “but to get there we had to have a project. This is what we did with Pierre with whom we shared a vision that was very much our own.” The YCM Vice-President was able to support the project from the start, embarking whenever he could on the IMOCA for double-hander races and qualifiers for the Vendée Globe: “It’s a huge task preparing a boat for an objective like this one,” he explains. Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco is also the boat that had sailed the most in the years leading up to the start.
For the skipper, there was only one condition: to arrive fully prepared in Les Sables d’Olonne: “At Les Sables, everything had to be perfect”. Preparation, particularly mental, was essential to understand and know how to negotiate the pitfalls and challenges: when Boris was becalmed for a week on the edge of an anticyclone over Sainte Hélène, sailing in the southern ocean when conditions were particularly tough, having to mend a tear in the mainsail just as he was approaching Cape Horn, and not to mention coping with loneliness. Moments that were as difficult for Boris as they were frustrating for Pierre Casiraghi: “We so wanted to help him. Especially as I was able to put myself in his position and understood what was happening thanks to the double-hander events we’ve done together.”


An adventure that continues

Behind the experience of one man is a united multi-disciplinary team remembers Boris: “During all the trips we did to rack up the nautical miles in preparation, we had a different approach but it worked perfectly with Pierre. I’m thinking in particular of the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2017. When we were about to round the Fastnet Rock, the forecast was for pretty strong winds. I was for easing off, but Pierre suggested we went for it. I listened to him and we moved up from 9th to 3rd place”. While every other adventure may come to an end, that of the Vendée Globe continues. “It was a relief to finish,” says Boris. “It’s a mix of emotions. It was a roller-coaster ride, but there are moments none of us will ever forget,” explains Pierre Casiraghi.
Being back on land is not synonymous with resting up and a return to normal life, as skippers get caught up in the hype surrounding their achievement: “I was amazed at how enthusiastic people were,” says Boris, who is now famous in his home country, being the first German skipper to participate and complete the Vendée Globe. “The fact I had a laboratory aboard and was doing something for the scientific community played a big part in all this. It reached a much wider audience. I am still very surprised to be stopped in the street at home and asked to sign autographs”.
The YCM member will remain in the Principality for the whole of Monaco Ocean Week (22-27 March 2021), organised by the Prince Albert II Foundation and Monaco government, in partnership with the Monaco Oceanographic Institute, Monaco Scientific Centre and YCM.
Boris will be meeting children from the YCM’s Sports Section on Wednesday afternoon to share his experiences. On Friday 26th March he and Pierre Casiraghi will come together again to take stock of the first Vendée Globe under the Monaco flag and present early scientific data collected by the onboard laboratory on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco. This talk is open to everyone online.

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