And they're off!

Despite a delayed start due to heavy fog, the 9th Vendee Globe has begun with Monaco’s own representative, Boris Herrmann, skippering the Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco for Team Malizia in the solo non-stop race.
The Vendee Globe, which started from Les Sables-d’Olonne on Sunday, sees 33 hearty competitors pitted against each other in a 24,296 nautical mile non-stop, around the world solo race.
Amongst them is Boris Herrmann at the helm of the Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco, an IMOCA 60 monohull which has been kitted out with the latest foils and a raft of technical equipment, including an on-board lab to take sea samples from points around the world.
“Described by many as the Everest of the Seas, this is an extreme challenge in its purest form: sailors who battle the odds alone, against the elements, and follow their dreams to the end through the sheer force of their courage and self-sacrifice,” said Prince Albert II, President of the Yacht Club of Monaco and an accomplished sailor in his own right. “Another source of pride is the environmental aspect driving this project, in association with my Foundation, by YCM Vice-President Pierre Casiraghi and our skipper Boris Herrmann. They have equipped Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco with an ocean laboratory, allowing scientists to measure and record scientific parameters.”

Boris Herrmann on the Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco, photo by Boris Herrmann Racing Team

As the Covid crisis continues to wreak havoc, the departure, which would usually be a true spectacle with thousands of well-wishers sending the sailors off, was a quiet event. Nonetheless, Herrmann received support from those rooting for him in the Principality via a video message from Prince Albert and Pierre Casiraghi, who spoke on the behalf of all of Monaco.
“We are sorry for not being there in person to support you,” said the Prince in the video, “but the Yacht Club, the Foundation and all the Principality, we are all with you.”
“Thank you, Boris for holding on all these years for the preparation,” Pierre Casiraghi added. “We are confident of your ability and I know that the boat is really well prepared by the team. I really wish you fair winds and see you soon on your return. Dahge Malizia!”
Watch the video message by Prince Albert and Pierre Casiraghi here:
Follow the Boris Herrmann on his Vendee Globe adventure here:
Photos: Boris Herrmann Racing