Boris Herrmann in the final spurt
Boris Herrmann has a serious chance to win his Vendée Globe premiere after 67 days at sea. Experts have been predicting this for days. Now the 39-year-old skipper of the "Seaexplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco" has said it himself and quite calmly: "There are definitely chances of victory." On Thursday afternoon he had already worked his way up to fifth place. At the front, "Apivia" skipper Charlie Dalin was able to slightly increase his lead over Louis Burton by 20 nautical miles. Another 35 nautical miles behind, "LinkedOut" skipper Thomas Ruyant stayed on with a broken wing. In fourth place, Damien Seguin still couldn't be shaken off on "Groupe Apicil" without any foils. Yannick Bestaven, the big loser in the weather development of the past few days, fell behind Herrmann with "Maître Coq IV" and is now almost 100 nautical miles behind Charlie Dalin.
Fourth placed Damien Seguin recently enjoyed this prospect, who with his "Groupe Apicil" still kept up with the leading boats without any foils
Here Boris Herrmann tells what he will dream of when he is back home in Hamburg
In the online press conference Boris Herrmann spoke about the latest developments, his own prospects and his longing for the end of this marathon. Here are excerpts from his statements on the individual topics:
About the course of the final phase:
The alarms start over and over again. The nerves are tense. The boat foils under full load. We'll be at the equator in three days. Until then, the wind will leave. That makes it a little easier. In the northeast trade wind we can have strong winds again. Then it goes home to the west wind zone with its low pressure areas and space sheets. In between the doldrums are still there. If the first ones stop there, there might be a few more miles to gain.
To your own mental state:
I'm very tense right now. Like almost never before. We have almost never had these foiling conditions. Hard blows go through ship and body. At 22 knots we already exceed all load values. Then the alert level is red. So it's about half the time.
To the competition ahead of him:
I drive my race. What others do is more of a reference for me. Burton surprises me. He has not been seen like this in the past. I was not expecting that. Dalin and Ruyant are so keepers of secrets, they don't say what's going on. I don't care if they can use foils or not. Apparently yes. Dalin goes 16 knots. You can't do that without foils.
Surprisingly strong, and not just for Boris Herrmann: the "Bureau Vallée 2" skipper Louis Burton in second place
"Secret carrier" Charlie Dalin: How severely is the front runner actually handicapped?
What is still going on for Thomas Ruyant, who is currently in third place?
On the big losses of the former front runner Yannick Bestaven:
This has mainly to do with sequences and the development of the weather situation. Nobody can do anything for you. This is bad luck for Yannick and luck for us. It has to do with how the high pressure area behaved towards the South American cold front. That is a weather barrier. That was more pronounced. With lower winds for the first to get out of there. The scenario left Yannick with no option but to get on the very western route. The computer cannot figure out when to slow down or stop. Sometimes it would be better if we would stop for 24 hours and then drive on at full speed. But that's not how it works. The paradox happened here. I think that happens more often than you think. There was already that between Michel Desjoyeaux and Ellen MacArthur or between Armel Le Cléac'h and Alex Thomson, who could make up hundreds of miles in such a situation. We experience this almost regularly in the Atlantic. Yannick was lucky in this race too. And now he's got his bad luck. That balances out in the end. And in the end the good guys are ahead. It would be funny if a team like Apivi were beaten by an older ship. And Yannick is still in the match. It could have been worse. He still has every opportunity to play his cards.
Regarding his sailing style and the question of whether he will risk more in the final spurt:
I honestly don't think so. Sometimes I watch myself a little. But I think I am sailing like in the beginning. There are always compromises. You are never left alone. For example, there is currently a lull. Dist a giant cloud. I do my best. The unique situation that we might be able to win the race doesn't drive me crazy now. I'm already keeping my load values. I sail the ship as I have practiced in training.
On the loneliness after more than two months at sea and the question of what he misses the most:
I look forward to arriving. To see people. My family. Just to be able to sleep in a bed. Get rid of the pressure. I can still make it through the two weeks. Then it's enough. Then I'm fed up too.
To mental simulation games on board with a view to the desired participation in The Ocean Race and how it will feel, then no longer alone, but with a crew on an Imocum to sail the world:
Yes, I imagine that sometimes. That would be much, much easier. You can sleep for three or four hours while you are awake, you can give up. You don't have that here. That's the biggest difference. Four people is a cool number of people. With four people, two can sail, one is asleep, one is on standby. With that you can then use the boat to 100 percent. That will rarely be the case here …
On the successful race to catch up in the past few days:
People always think it has something to do with the skipper. But 99 percent of it has to do with the weather and boot and configuration. I don't leave more than four percent on the track when I'm tired before Cape Horn. The race to catch up is a gift of the weather situation. Also a result of the fact that the boat is still okay. Not that much has changed for myself, except that I now suffer less from the cold. It's not much easier here now than in the South Seas. These foiling Imocas are blatant ships, very demanding, not comparable to the boats with swords. A ship with foils simply accelerates until it breaks.
On motivation and encouragement from outside:
Yes, I've heard from a couple of sailors that I hold dear. Yann Eliès wrote this morning: "You can win the race." Giovanni Soldini got in touch. The exchange with my wife, with Birte, gives me the most mental strength. Motivation isn't the problem at all. The nervous strain of staying calm, finding sleep - that works pretty well at the moment. I have the right level of tension. It's not that I'm going to let myself go completely crazy.