Boris Herrmann navigated the Yacht Club de Monaco’s foil-bearing monocoque, the Malizia II, to a fifth-place finish on the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe.
The solo transatlantic race happens once every four years, and this was the first time a vessel from the Yacht Club de Monaco participated. Herrmann made the crossing from the Havre to Guadeloupe in a very respectable 13 days, 47 minutes and 30 seconds. The Malizia II skipper traveled a total of 4,437 miles at an average of 14.05 knots.
Frenchman Paul Meilhat was victorious in the IMOCA 60 class division after some drama. Initially, Brit Alex Thomson was the first IMOCA competitor to cross the finish line, however, race authorities docked him a 24-hour penalty for the use of his motor in avoiding a dash rocks 60 miles before the finish.
Herrmann’s initial objective was to break into the top five (out of 20) in the IMOCA 60 class. His accomplishment is certainly promising as he looks toward future solo races like the Vendée Globe.
Boris Herrmann at the helm
Herrmann displayed a lot of grit in his first solo excursion. Taking a more northerly option than his competitors, he confronted strong winds and agitated seas. The Monaco-affiliated skipper even spent 24 hours at the head of the pack for a stretch of the race.
Herrmann issued this statement via the Yacht Club de Monaco:
It’s great to be back on dry land! The northern route was exhausting, I took a battering from a series of squalls gusting up to 43 knots. Going upwind, there were complex manoeuvres to manage, sail changes, taking in reefs, non-stop. Initially, I had planned to stay with the bulk of the fleet but having stalled in the second low pressure zone after the start, I found myself at the back of the peloton and saw Paul (Meilhat) and Vincent (Riou) speeding away at 15 knots while I was stuck on 2 knots for hours. It was the same for Yann (Eliès), although he managed to catch some air while I continued to be tossed around with the sails flapping.
Malizia II seemed to be doomed from the first day of racing. A few hours later I was out of the hole without any chance of catching the escaped competitors. I was then racing against myself; alone; although I would have much preferred to be competing in sight of the others. It wasn’t easy, I had to hang in there, supported by numerous wonderful messages from the school kids in Monaco and also Germany who were following me through the “My Ocean Challenge” program. I really want to thank them for their encouragement, they got me through some of the most difficult moments. And, in the end, I learned so much. The next goal? Vendée Globe 2020!