Nautical history was made when the Malizia II became the first ship bearing the Yacht Club de Monaco flag to depart for the storied transatlantic Route du Rhum.

Setting out from the Pointe du Grouin at 2:02 PM on Sunday, November 4th, the Malizia II (formerly the Gitana XVI) made history as the first Yacht Club de Monaco affiliated ship to set sail on the Route du Rhum. At the helm is Boris Herrmann.

The voyage begins with calm seas and a South wind between 10 and 15 knots (gusts may reach up to  20 knots in the early hours). Thanks to current conditions, this year’s edition of the Route du Rhum has an estimated crossing time of 11 days. In perspective, the current time of reference is 12 days 4 hours 38 minutes and 55 seconds. François Gabart set the record on Macif in 2014. The 2018 race boasts an armada of 120 racing boats split between six categories.

A new challenge for Boris Herrmann

Hermann will attempt the 3,500 nautical mile crossing as part of the IMOCA 60 category. He will battle the seas alongside 19 other competitors. Four years after the last edition, the IMOCA 60 category has not only doubled but has also seen a technical evolution. Ten of the twenty boats will feature foil technology. (The foil is a carbon fiber appendage that drives down into the water allowing the boat’s frame to be lifted off the surface).

With the departure, Herrmann also becomes the first German to attempt crossing an ocean in an IMOCA 60 class boat during a single-handed regatta. The Thirty-seven-year-old skipper is also using this race as preparation for the next Vendée Globe in 2020.

I’ve covered over 16,000 nautical miles this year learning to handle Malizia II. The intensive training at Port la Forêt under the supervision of Michel Desjoyeaux and other open ocean race specialists was very helpful for me. I have a lot of experience with open ocean races, but not as much sailing solo in this type of boat. I really want to prove myself through this exercise, and I see this transatlantic trip like a new adventure…”

A voyage with a message

The Malizia II’s participation in the Route du Rhum also carries a significant environmental message. As it travels across the ocean, it will promote the protection of our major bodies of water. The aim is to encourage scientific exploration among young people. The vessel, created by Pierre Casiraghi, respects the sporting policy of the Yacht Club de Monaco and has support from the Prince Albert-II of Monaco Foundation. It will sail under the “Malizia My Ocean Challenge” banner as a call to awareness around our collective impact on ocean habitats.