On Thursday 3 December, the German sailor who is competing in the Vendée Globe sailing race under Monaco’s flag gave a live conference, commenting on the rescue of Kevin Escoffier and the challenges ahead. Herrmann has just rounded the Cape of Good Hope, the official gateway to the South Seas.

“We were desperate, we were really scared!” says Boris Herrmann, whose boat was one of three diverted by Vendée Globe organisers to help with Kevin Escoffier’s rescue operation. “I cried after hearing that he’d been rescued. I realised how close we had come to a tragedy,” he said.

Difficult conditions

Now that he’s back in the race, the Malizia team skipper is more cautious than ever. “Conditions are difficult”, he admits. And it’s not going to get any better over the next few days, especially now that Boris Herrmann has lost his intermediate sail. “I am slightly handicapped by the loss of my G2, but now that I’m in the South, I don’t really need it,” he says.

An area rich in biological data

“Of course I look at the trajectory of other sailors, but I do not let it influence me. I do my own thing,” says Herrmann, who doesn’t lose track of the scientific aim of his race. “I hope that the lab I have onboard will hold up until the end because we’re currently in an area very rich in biological data,” he adds. Herrmann’s boat has an automatic lab onboard that is active 24/7 and that will collect data on water temperatures, salt levels as well as pH and CO2 levels. The data will then be shared with researchers at Hambourg’s  Max-Planck Institute of Meteorology, as well as with scientists at the Géomar centre for research in Kiel and at the French Institute for Ocean Science (IFREMER) in Brest. Boris Herrmann currently ranks 5th in the Vendée Globe race.

>> MORE ON THE TOPIC: Vendée Globe race: Boris Herrmann (YCM) sails solo round the world to save the oceans

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