• Riviera Insider editorial

Boris Hermann finishes the 9th Vendée Globe Mission

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

Around the world in 80 days! Jules Verne wrote it, the leaders of the 9th Vendée Globe did it! Five skippers circumnavigated the globe in 80 days, including Boris Herrmann for Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco.

Boris Herrmann arrives at Les Sables-d’Olonne ©Martin Keruzoré

The German took 5th place with a time of 80 days 14 hours 59 minutes and 45 seconds. It was an excellent result, even if the dream scenario did not go totally as planned. The last miles were particularly difficult for the sailor, who reported being in a collision with a fishing boat at 20:50 (French time) some 90 nautical miles (approx. 160km) from the finish and had been a serious contender to win the event. In spite of significant damage, in particular to the starboard foil, bowsprit and a shroud, Boris showed grit and determination in carrying out makeshift repairs and making it a point of honour to finish the race.

After finally stepping foot on solid land, Herrmann was reflective on his long "adventure," saying:

The Vendée Globe has changed me - I’m not sure in what way yet. It certainly gave me a lot in terms of patience.

After 24,296 nautical miles of racing, he becomes the first German in the history of the Vendée Globe to finish this gruelling race. Long-drawn to the mystique of circumnavigating the planet, Herman considers it a childhood dream that he has now completed.

of one day doing it.

It’s really been a joint effort and I can’t wait to celebrate it with all the members of the Team. It’s the best moment of any race. Of course, what happened yesterday evening was heartbreaking for me but all’s well that ends well. I’m happy with my position given the circumstances. I finished in a good place."

Boris Herrmann arrives at Les Sables-d’Olonne ©Martin Keruzoré

A great result for Monegasque sailing, the President of Yacht Club de Monaco, HSH Prince Albert II was in Les Sables-d'Olonne to welcome Boris and was very reassuring and understanding of the accident that delayed the final ranking:

“I understand his disappointment which we share with all those in the Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco team, led by Pierre Casiraghi. We are sad for him because the performance was there. This does not detract from a very good race by Boris. We didn’t expect him to be in the top five for his first participation. Unfortunately, this has happened to other sailors in the past and shows just how difficult this legendary race is, as there are so many criteria to take into account throughout this course across three oceans. Personally, I am very satisfied with his result and his behaviour throughout this Vendée Globe. He is an engaging and gracious personality, a true gentleman and great sailor. I am convinced we will see him again at the start of other big events. The sea is embedded in the Principality’s DNA. I am thinking of Prince Albert I and how a century since his passing this relationship between Monaco and the sea endures, thanks to adventures like the one Boris has just completed, bearing the message of my Foundation to protect the oceans.”

“It’s just extraordinary, and the way he handled the situation and damage he sustained last night shows what a truly great sailor he is,” added Pierre Casiraghi, also present at the finish with YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri.

Monaco celebrates

Congratulation video messages poured in from key figures in sport and personalities who are very attached to the Principality, including former F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg, nine-time World Champion rally co-pilot Daniel Elena, freediving world-record holder Pierre Frolla, tennis players Novak Djokovic, Mischa and Alexander Zverev, adventurer Mike Horn, AS Monaco striker Kevin Volland, and Giovanni Soldini. It is thanks to Soldini that Boris and Pierre met during the Cape2Rio in 2013.

Unprecedented finish

Of course, the time compensations awarded to three skippers (Le Cam, Bestaven and Herrmann) involved in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier played a major role in the ranking. While Charlie Dalin (Apivia) took line honours by crossing the line first after 80 days 6 hours 15 minutes and 47 seconds, he is not the final winner of the 9th Vendée Globe, an unprecedented situation in the history of this race. Never have boats been so close and the margin of victory so narrow in the final miles.

The trophy goes to Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) from La Rochelle who arrived 3rd into Les Sables-d’Olonne and a fireworks display. He takes up the mantle from Armel Le Cléac’h (winner in 2016) due to his 10 hour 15 minute time compensation, which means he finished the Vendée Globe in 80 days 3 hours 44 minutes and 46 seconds.

Nail-biting suspense

All those captivated by the too-close-to-call finish to this thrilling race were left speechless by this almost inconceivable spectacle after 80 days at sea. From the Azores to the Bay of Biscay, the key players drew on all the resources they had left, making the minutest adjustments to maintain speed to the bitter end. An exercise in finesse where Boris excelled: “He had a very intelligent race,” said Team Malizia skipper coach Will Harris. “He has several round the worlds to his credit and that paid off in this Vendée Globe. He’s also the skipper who has sailed the most miles on his IMOCA.”

A skipper and a researcher

During his journey, Boris Herrmann, a member of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, managed to continue his other mission: running an autonomous laboratory onboard, operating 24/7 collecting data from water samples and transmitting them to scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Géomar in Kiel and Ifremer in Brest. Data on air and water temperatures, salinity, PH and CO2 from oceans around the world have been collected, but not from remote regions which scientists are not able to reach.

Boris’s commitment is palpable and reflected in the name of the boat, as Seaexplorer is a reference to a Kuehne + Nagel led initiative to measure the impact of CO2 emissions in the shipping freight sector. Reducing emissions is also the goal of another initiative, initiated by the Yacht Club de Monaco and mobilising the luxury yacht sector, which established the Superyacht Eco Association (SEA) Index, a benchmark for measuring the environmental impact of 40+m yachts. Unflappable, poised and discreet, Boris reflects to perfection the values of the Principality in carrying his message about protecting the oceans. He has also undoubtedly inspired children all over the world to discover new vocations, as evidenced by the many messages he has received from them during this legendary round the world race.

For more information on the Vendée Globe Mission or Team Malizia, visit the Monaco Yacht Club website: or

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