There are many stories circulating about the equipment of professional dumpers. Some have a very real core. In the past, many ocean sailors denied themselves any comfort for reasons of weight: instead of metal cutlery, some even today only take plastic spoons with them on their voyages around the world.
Photos of toothbrushes with a sawed-off handle or tools made easier by drilling are legendary. Why should anyone who chooses outrageously expensive titanium for the stanchions in order to keep their boat as light as possible, not skimp on personal items?
In fact, the soloists at the Vendée Globe do not get a piece on board that has not gone through several testing processes. Spare parts, tools, food, safety equipment - everything that should be included is checked beforehand for suitability for use, weighed, sorted, sensibly packed in bags and stowed in predetermined locations on the ship. Some parts are actually discussed in the team for days.
With Boris Herrmann, the necessary equipment alone adds up to ten bags: five for provisions, five for the rest. Two are constantly under his bunk on the windward side so that they remain dry and quickly accessible under all circumstances. The rest always moves to where the weight is most sensibly used: in light winds forwards, close to wind far to windward, with deep sheets courses to the aft to avoid undercutting the stem.
YACHT online had the man from Hamburg look at his personal packing list before the start - and also revealed why he allowed himself more than the bare minimum. On the one hand, this is due to his extensive experience in the Southern Ocean. Herrmann, who has sailed around the world three times under racing conditions, twice non-stop, knows about the sometimes miserably harsh conditions along the ice line. In order to maintain his performance, he does not want to save on warming clothes, for example. He even built in a heater.
The fact that he plans with reserves also has to do with the physics of his new, expansive foils. They develop so much buoyancy that weight plays a lesser role than in previous Imoca generations. "What is on the windward side of the foils, practically everything, increases the righting moment", revealed the 39-year-old in a big YACHT interview (YACHT 23-2020, order here!). "A few pounds don't really matter."
In part 1 of the series about the 39-year-old's equipment: to pull on and on - with which Boris Herrmann arm himself against heat and cold, storm and rain
1). For bad weather
Musto dry suit
HPX Pro Smock
HPX Pro pants
TPS survival suit
Why three sets of oilskins? Well, Guy Cotten's TPS survival suit already dictates the class rule. It is intended for emergencies such as capsizing or salvage because it also provides buoyancy.
That leaves two musto sets. They are mainly used for protection when working on deck. When the "Seaexplorer" crashes onto or into a wave at a speed of 20 or 30 knots with the forecastle, so much water comes over as if the skipper were standing in front of a gigantic steam jet. That's why only the best is good enough here - and redundancy makes sense if a sentence is soaked.
Incidentally, the clothing is not provided by the British manufacturer itself, but by their German distributor: Peter Frisch GmbH. The Munich-based company, whose extensive program also includes other well-known brands such as Harken or Spinlock, has been supporting Boris for 20 years now.
2) For gentleness
Thanks to the almost completely covered cockpit, which can be closed aft with a tarpaulin, there is usually hardly any need for protective functional clothing on board. That is why Boris will often not wear oilskins in the cockpit and below deck, just this light jacket.
3) For the tropics
LPX shorts with spray top (Velcro on the neck)
The Imoc60 are now as fast as the Orma trimarans not so long ago. You overcome climatic zones in a few days. The skipper will be in the tropics for a good two to three weeks on his course around the world, he will cross the equator twice - for this he needs these parts.
Fitting with the family. Caps, hats and southwesters play an important role for Boris Herrmann
4) Against rain and spray
Musto Southwest *
Winter cap *
Performance cap *
Sun hat *
Cap with fleece lining
Reason for this large selection of headgear, besides keeping it warm: Boris attaches great importance to keeping his cane bunk always dry. "It's like an unwritten law: not a drop of water anywhere!" In order not to have to slip into the otherwise dry sleeping bag with hair wet from spray, he never goes on deck "topless" if possible. And if he should be "showered" during a maneuver, he puts on a fleece hat before climbing back into the bunk - so that the pillow does not get soaked, which would not dry again in the Southern Ocean for days.
5) For keeping warm
Thermal pants *
Thermal Base Layer *
Extreme thermal fleece pants
Extreme Thermal Fleece Top *
Indispensable on the skin and as an intermediate layer - base and mid layers for clothing based on the onion skin principle
6) To feel good
Wool troyer, woolen mittens and socks
For many it will be surprising that the hamburger also relies on traditional clothes. They are part of his feel-good range, which will also be discussed in the next two episodes of the three-part series. Boris wore them for the first time on his record drive through the Nordost-Passage: knitwear made in Russia that is particularly warm and cozy.
7) For a good stand and dry feet
Musto Gore-Tex Race *
Sea boots for every day when it can get cool and / or wet. Very light, very breathable, good grip.
Boris also has a pair of Le Chameau Neptune with him, which almost all French offshore skippers wear. Thanks to the neoprene lining, they warm up even if water should penetrate.
Crocs Classic Clog * Instead of flip-flops and sandals - the shoe to have a good footing in the cockpit and below deck. Quick on, quick off, quick dry. Actually developed for cruising sailors, but the professionals have long since discovered it for themselves. When it gets colder, you pull it over your socks. No one sees the Vendée
8) Just in case
Spinlock Deckvest Vito *
Developed for the last Volvo Ocean Race and for high seas use - lifejacket with 275 Newton buoyancy and Hammar release. Indispensable for going to the foredeck in rough seas, because they are also used to peck the safety belt into the main ropes. Two of these are on board, one as a reserve - plus replacement cartridges in the event of false alarms.
In episode 2: Which technical gadgets Boris Herrmann has in his pockets - and why his headlamp can't be bright enough for him: from Friday exclusively here on YACHT online
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