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Team Malizia's Boris Herrmann off to a good start in New York Vendée Race

by Team Malizia 29 May 23:46 BST 29 May 2024
Boris Herrmann flying out of New York City in yesterday's dock-off - New York Vendée Race © Marie Lefloch / Team Malizia

Boris Herrmann took the start in his second transatlantic crossing of the year earlier today. The Team Malizia skipper is competing against 27 IMOCA sailors in the New York Vendée solo race, heading back to France across the Atlantic. Off to a good start, he will race 3,200 nautical miles in what is the final major test before the Vendée Globe round-the-world solo race next November.

"We now have a beautiful battle unfolding in the North Atlantic," said Boris Herrmann shortly after starting the New York Vendée - Les Sables d'Olonne race this Wednesday, May 29, 2024. At 2:00 pm sharp (18:00 UTC, 20:00 CEST), the Team Malizia skipper and his 27 IMOCA competitors set sail in a solo race across the Atlantic, returning from New York, USA, to Les Sables d'Olonne, France. Under sunny skies and very light wind conditions, Boris Herrmann was off to a good start in the 3,200 nautical mile-long race.

The race is also the final major test for the solo sailors before the Vendée Globe starting in November. Conditions over the next few days seem lighter than usual, and the fleet will likely encounter more upwind sailing than in the previous edition. The arrival in Les Sables d'Olonne is expected between June 7th and 10th.

With the start taking place 90 nautical miles offshore for marine mammal protection, the fleet sailed through the night at a slow pace to reach the starting line. "The night went well," explained the German skipper. "The naps were short because there were so many boats around, but overall it was very peaceful and quiet. Now we have blue skies, and you can look deep into the sea. The sun is bright, the wind is 5-6 knots. It had been down to almost nothing, and last night, I also had a short moment with 20 knots. I sailed most of the night with the J2 and full main up, and parts of the early night with the Code 0 and full main."

One hour before the start, he said: "I am currently 2.2 nautical miles from the start line and doing 2.5 knots of boat speed. I'm surrounded by all the other IMOCA boats and heading towards the position where I am planning to start. I did a bit of weather and routing, and repaired a small thing on the boat. I haven't slept since 9:00 a.m. local time, so I'm trying to take a quick 5-10 minute nap now. I had breakfast and will maybe have a quick lunch before the start. That's it. Soon, it's time to go!"

This distance between the start line and the coast meant that no chase boats with camera crews could film the start. However, fans were still able to follow the action through a live stream of the Malizia - Seaexplorer cockpit camera, which was broadcast on Team Malizia's YouTube channel. They could also watch the show on the race's YouTube channel with French and English commentary by Team Malizia's co-skipper Will Harris and former team member Rosalin Kuiper. Excited by the beautiful day at sea, Boris Herrmann took on the role of both offshore racer and onboard reporter: He commented his own manoeuvring for the live stream and sent a large number of photos and videos just a few minutes into the race, making his team and fans feel like they were on the water with him.

Shortly after crossing the virtual line, the Team Malizia skipper looked visibly happy on camera: "I got off the start quite well. I just used the Adrena software to time the start, and there's a little bit of suspense now because we are all waiting for the confirmation from the race direction that we had a clean start. My intention was to start the most westward. I want to go south as quickly as possible, and I wanted to be on that side of the line, which is the furthest south.

"The start was good", said Boris Herrmann just over an hour after the race began. "I was just a few boat lengths away from Sam Goodchild, and we sailed very close to each other, like in a TP52 regatta. At some stage, I managed to get a little bit ahead, to windward, and then he kind of fell a little bit out before turning his boat. I think he must have thought that he had something around his keel. Yoann Richomme on Paprec Arkéa is also quite fast. He caught up on the windward side and is now just a little bit to leeward. So I'm watching him closely and also Jérémie Beyou on Charal. Speed-wise, it all looks quite good. Charal is doing 4 knots and we are doing 5.5 knots. So let's see where this takes us in the next couple of hours!"

The Malizia - Seaexplorer skipper commented: "There are some boats that started to the leeward side of the line, which didn't make too much sense to me, but they look quite good actually. All in One solo sailor is doing 6.5 knots. They have just constantly more wind on that side. Also Sébastien Marsset, Éric Bellion, Maître Coq came out nicely on the other side. Violette Dorange is going quite fast. This is prime time for the non-foiling boats. They usually like the light wind and flat sea conditions. Our boat is sailing well, heeling a little bit, some swell, sunshine - it couldn't be any better. My biggest concern was that there would be fog, but that was not the case. Let's see what's in store for this race!"

Team Malizia's A Race We Must Win - Climate Action Now! mission is only possible due to the strong and long-lasting commitment from its seven main partners: the Yacht Club de Monaco, EFG International, Zurich Group Germany, Kuehne+Nagel, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, Hapag-Lloyd, and Schütz. These partners band behind Team Malizia to support its campaign, each of them working towards projects in their own field to innovate around climate solutions.

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