Good things shortly before the start: Boris Hermann on board the "Seaexplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco"
The race of his life is on: Boris Herrmann started his Vendée Globe premiere this Sunday like 32 other skippers. Stubborn fog fields had caused a start delay of one hour and 20 minutes. Even without the unapproved fans, who traditionally streamed into the harbor by the hundreds of thousands on the launch day on the launch day, lined the "Heldenkanal" and transformed the launch zone into a white foaming "washing machine", there were emotional farewell moments on the dock and on board the Imoca -Yachts to experience. The most frequently pronounced sentence on the morning before the start: "A dream finally comes true."
The starting shot in front of Les Sables d'Olonne was given at 2:20 p.m. after an hour and 20 minute shift
Fog banks caused a 20-minute start shift from 13.02 to 13.22 on the start day
A picture from the morning of the start in Les Sables-d'Olonne, which on the one hand shows the golden spirit of optimism, but on the other hand also shows the somewhat eerie emptiness there, where hundreds of thousands of fans accompany and cheer on their heroes on land and on the water in non-Corona times
Many of the starters had tears in their eyes during the farewell interview on the dock. Behind all of them lie two to four years of hard work, hardship and intensive preparation for this ninth edition of the toughest solo sea marathon the sailing world has to offer. An adventurous 24,296 nautical miles lie ahead of you, which you have to master solo, non-stop and without outside help. Boris Herrmann was met with applause from other teams on his way across the dock to the "Seaexplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco". He thanked them in all directions, walked upright and with a smile that was visible despite the mask to the last interview and confirmed: "It's an emotional day." Herrmann managed the start itself with very good timing to the line, the right choice of sails and initially good positioning.
Due to the fog on Sunday noon before Les Sables-d'Olonne, there were alternating scenes like in the moonlight, then again the best conditions under a bright blue sky
The evening before, his wife Birte Lorenzen-Herrmann, family, friends and prominent sponsors from all over the world had given the 39-year-old good wishes online at a moving farewell zoom party before his summit storm in "Everest of the Seas". The participants also included the climate activist GretThunberg, her father Svante, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Pierre Casiraghi as well as friend, opponent and racing favorite Alex Thomson. Boris Herrmann sailed GretThunberg, her father and a filmmaker across the Atlantic with his Imoca yacht in 2019. Even then, the young Swede secretly left a few messages for her skipper in hidden places on the boat, as she is now telling him. GretThunberg said: "We wish you the best of luck. Keep your good spirit. We will be in our minds with you for the whole race. We know that you can do it. You can do anything. We will send you messages. Like them Wind to be with you!"
Personally, I wish Boris Herrmann luck for the solo circumnavigation: Climate activist GretThunberg
Prince Albert II of Monaco
Prince Albert II of Monaco, whose environmental foundation "Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation" is emblazoned in large letters on Herrmann's mainsail for the race around the world, is one of Herrmann's fans and supporters. The Yacht Club de Monaco has been supporting Herrmann's Malizis team since zero hour. As the head of the Grimaldi family, the prince has been president of the regatta-ambitious club since 1984. Before the start of the Vendée Globe he said: "Boris, you have a wonderful team around you. It is a shame that we cannot be with you at the start of this great adventure. But in our minds we will be with you all the time May the spirit of Malizidie be with you all the time and carry you to the finish line - preferably before everyone else. " The club's vice-president then wished his good friend Boris Herrmann luck: Pierre Casiraghi founded the Mali team together with Boris Herrmann, thus paving the way for the historically first participation of a German skipper in the ultimate sailing test. On the eve of the race, Casiraghi said to Herrmann: "What you are doing now is so difficult, so hard, so long. But you can achieve anything. That is the great message for all of us. Your mental strength is inspiring."
"Hugo Boss" skipper Alex Thomson
Boris Herrmann himself appeared relaxed less than 17 hours before the start the evening before and clearly and audibly enjoyed the encouragement from friends and fans in the online meeting. After a week of isolation for safety reasons and in Corona times like all other participants without the opportunity to see friends in Les Sables, the many good wishes gave the Hamburg-born and young father an important emotional tailwind on the course. Co-favorite and friend Alex Thomson also received a message to Boris Herrmann during the evening online rendezvous. The Briton, who finally wants to win in the fifth attempt after two tasks and places three and two on "Hugo Boss", said with a smile: "I wish you the best of luck, Boris! The first Vendée Globe is always the toughest. And then in This year all the people who cheer us on so fantastically are missing. I wish you success. Only you can't beat me."
Departure a few minutes after the start at 2:20 p.m.: Alex Thomson's crew members jump off the ship
When asked about his last work on the boat, Boris Herrmann said that he had put some motivating stickers on in various places. For example "Smile!", "Clip on!" or "Sail your own race - think!". One of the sayings, according to Herrmann, was from his team mate Pierre Casiraghi: "You are not alone!". Herrmann is accompanied by pasted photos of his wife Birte, the only four and a half month old daughter Marie-Louise and family dog Lilli. And also from a small cactus that the crew got for their skipper shortly before the start of the race - as a representative of the green of the mainland, which Herrmann will only return to in around two and a half months. In a conversation about the challenges of circumnavigating the world, sailing legend Loïck Peyron also gave him the following advice: "Boris, you know how to sail across the Atlantic. And then there's another day. And another. And another. Follow one to the other."
Boris Herrmann attached these self-motivation stickers for his circumnavigation of the world
Boris Herrmann was one of the younger half of the challengers at his first Vendée Globe start at the age of 39; the average age of the 33 participants, including 27 men and six women, is 43 years. The youngest participant for the second time in a row is the 27-year-old Swiss Alan Rourmit "LFabrique". He was 23 years old when he first made the round the world and became addicted. Now, like Boris Herrmann, he is the father of a young daughter and says that family life has made him an even better sailor. The oldest participant on his fifth assignment is Jean Le Cam ("Yes We Cam") at the age of 61.
The fans were not allowed to stand at the canal due to the strict corona rules. Many of them showed their flags on the balconies of the surrounding houses
The top favorites for this edition include Alex Thomson ("Hugo Boss"), Jérémie Beyou ("Charal"), Charlie Dalin ("Apivia") and Thomas Ruyant ("LinkedOut"). Never before has a non-French won the most important regatt in France, the last edition of which was the number two sporting event in the country after the World Cup, but before the Tour de France. With nine participating nations, including Isabelle Joschke, a skipper with a German-Austrian father, the 2020/21 race is more international than ever. The Japanese Kojiro Shiraishi also contributes to this. On his second outing with "DMG Mori Global One" after being eliminated from the premiere, he primarily wants to reach the finish line safely. The desire unites him with everyone in the fleet, even if some of the top skippers would not be entirely satisfied with less than the victory. Another novelty is the strong Brit Samanth "Sam" Davies ("Initiatives Cœur") in her third Vendée Globe and her partner Romain Attanasio ("Pure Best Western") as the first couple in the race. She says: "The Vendée Globe taught me that I can do a lot more than I could ever imagine." She should share this knowledge with the entire fleet.
The last time he was on the Vendée Globe, his boat was almost split in two in a collision and he had to give up. Now Thomas Ruyant is back and is one of the podium candidates in the 9th edition of the solo race around the world. With music from the Graffiti Ghosts and impressive images from then and now, he gets his fans in the mood for the upcoming summit storm
Also competes against her own husband Romain Attanasio and has the potential to finish in the top five: Brit Samanth "Sam" Davies on "Initiatives Cœur"
Photo gallery: Start of the Vendee Globe 2020