German skipper Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe off Les Sables d’Olonne this morning at 10:19:45hrs UTC to place in a provisional fourth place. He must wait until this evening for Jean Le Cam to finish to see if the veteran 61 years old will displace him because of his 16 hrs and 15 mins of time compensation.
Herrmann’s six hours of redress puts him 04hrs and 34 mins ahead of Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) who finished at 04:42:01hrs this Thursday morning.
But that means Le Cam has to finish within 10hrs and 15 mins of Herrmann if he is to place fourth, so before 20:34hrs UTC.
As the skipper of Seaexplorer Yacht Club de Monaco crossed the line, Le Cam was 140 miles from the finish making around 17kts in more than 20kts of SW’ly breeze
Herrmann’s elapsed time is 80d 20h 59m 45s and his corrected time 80d 14h 59m 45s. So his delta to first is 11hrs 14mins 59secs. On the theoretical route of 24,365 miles his average speed is 12.55 kts and he sailed an actual distance of 28,448 miles at a real average of 14.66kts.
Until last night and the last 100 miles into Les Sables d’Olonne the Vendée Globe of German skipper Boris Herrmann was going very much to plan.
After carefully preserving his IMOCA Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco in the southern oceans, climbing back up the Atlantic with his boat at close to 100 per cent Herrmann was in the heat of an intense, unprecedented five way battle for the three podium places.
But at 1926hrs UTC Wednesday night, his last at sea, Herrmann hit a fishing boat at 90 miles from the finish line, sustaining damage to his starboard foil, the hull side and losing his bowsprit.
His IMOCA bounced several times along the trawler, endangering his rig and sails. But after securing the boat the 39 year old skipper from Hamburg, Germany continued towards the finish line at reduced speed.
It is a massive disappointment for Herrmann who looked to be on course for at least third and possibly second place on the podium. But considering how close he came to race ending damage, it was no surprise at all to see his obvious delight when he crossed the finish line at Les Sables d’Olonne’s Nouche Sud buoy.
After winning the Global Ocean Race in 2009 for Class 40s and taking fifth in the Barcelona World Race for IMOCAs with Ryan Breymaier in 2010, and a Trophée Jules Verne attempt in 2015 with the crew of Frances Joyon’s IDEC Sport, Herrmann completes his fourth passage round the world today.
Setting off in the heart of the pack, Boris Herrmann dealt perfectly well with his first hurdle, tropical storm Theta to the north of the Canaries. He got the timing right, without having to enter the centre of the low, and made the most of the system to move up a few places in the rankings. By the seventh day of the race, he was in ninth place.
Although hindered by weed around his hydrogenerators, Boris Herrmann declared, “For two days, I have felt at home on this boat. It took me a while to overcome the pressure, scares and the stress of the start. It’s all good now and I have found my pace.”
In the group at the front, he managed his way through the Doldrums without any hold-ups, whereas those behind would be slowed down. After 10 days 17 hours and 30 minutes of racing, Boris crossed the Equator on 19th November in seventh place, 17 hours and 31 minutes after the race leader, Alex Thomson.
Boat-breaking seas and headwinds meant that the South Atlantic was not that much fun and speeds were not particularly high. On the morning of 30th November, when Boris aboard his SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco in eighth place was attacking the Roaring Forties for the first time, the German skipper confessed he was finding it hard to make progress: “The seas are very rough. It’s not a pretty sight and not very pleasant. I can’t progress as I would wish and the boat is not able to express her full potential.”
A few hours later, he received a call from the Race Directors: 120 miles ahead of him, Kevin Escoffier’s boat had split in half. Boris Herrmann was officially requested to help in the search at around 1800hrs. The German bore away slightly in the SW’ly winds blowing in excess of 20 knots and on heavy seas. Six hours later, he had reached the area. At 0218hrs on 1st December, the skipper of PRB went aboard Jean Le Cam’s boat and the race would get back underway for Boris. On 16th December, the International Jury issued its verdict, awarding 6 hours of compensation to be taken into account at the finish.
1 day and 4 hours after Charlie Dalin (Apivia), Boris crossed the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope, after 23 days and 13 hours of sailing. Below Australia, on the edge of the Ice Exclusion Zone, SeaExplorer
– YCM remained close to Jean le Cam, Yannick Bestaven, Benjamin Dutreux and Damien Seguin. Because of the unusual weather patterns, part of the fleet was back sailing side by side. This became a new start for the chasing boats, 500 miles back from the leader.
Boris passed Cape Leeuwin on 14th December, 20 hours and 43 minutes after the race leader, Charlie Dalin. Four days later, the German had to stop to repair a batten and part of his mainsail. Conditions were not favourable to allow him to speed towards Cape Horn due to the wind angle. On 4th January, the mainsail aboard SeaExplorer tore again. He had to push hard for the next few days to make up for lost time.
SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco passed Cape Horn on 5th January after 57 days at sea and 2 days 12 hours and 44 minutes behind the new leader, Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV). However, the 400 mile lead that Maître CoQ IV had over second-placed Charlie Dalin would melt away very quickly as they climbed towards Brazil. Boris had an excellent phase climbing up the South Atlantic, as in spite of the wide gap of 2 days and 12 hours at the Horn, was only 2 hours and 16 minutes behind at the Equator. The return to the North Atlantic offered us an incredible race between the nine frontrunners, with five boats later battling it out for victory, including, SeaExplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco.