Herrmann’s heartbreak ahead of 4th place finish

Skipper of the Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco Boris Herrmann has made a fine fourth place finish in the Vendée Globe, a gruelling solo round-the-world race. But it could have been better if not for a freak accident with a fishing ship that left him limping back to port. 
Up until the very end, Boris Herrmann had a shot at winning the Vendée Globe, a race that started back on 8th November. But the fates saw otherwise. Herrmann, who with a race time of 80 days, 14 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds, came in a solid fourth place, arriving at 11.19am on Thursday. But it wasn’t before a near-disaster in the final hours almost took him out of the race completely.
Herrmann was 90 nautical miles from the finish line at Les Sables d’Olonne when he collided with a fishing craft, leaving him unharmed but shaken. The same cannot be said of his boat, which sustained pretty heavy damage including a broken bowspirit, a tear in the foresail, and a damaged wing as well as the starboard shroud.
“It was particularly critical that the starboard shroud tore off, the line that secures the mast from falling over,” said his team.
Herrmann worked tirelessly to repair as much of the damage as possible to be able to safely reach port.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this at sea,” said Herrmann, “but the most important thing is that nobody was injured.” He also questioned why his alarm systems did not warn him about the other boat in the area. “Suddenly I saw a wall next to me, the ships got stuck, I heard men calling,” he said.

Photo by Team Malizia

The conclusion of the race has seen plenty of shuffling. Whilst Charlie Dalin of the Apivia was first to cross the finish line, he was awarded second place due to Yannick Bestaven’s time compensation bonus of 10 hours and 15 minutes for his rescue efforts off Cape Horn of fellow sailor Kevin Escoffier, who was forced to abandon ship in a storm earlier in the race.
This did not affect third place finisher Louis Burton on the Bureau Vallee 2, who arrived just before midnight on Wednesday night. Herrmann leapfrogged over Thomas Ruyant on Linked Out, despite his collision, as he too was awarded a time bonus of six hours for his part in Escoffier’s rescue.
This year was unusual in other respects as well. The final approach would normally be jammed with people welcoming the sailors back home after their voyages, but this year was eerily quiet. Covid regulations and curfews disallowed the normal crowds, though the mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne let 300 volunteers be on hand to applaud. The little seaside village also put on a fireworks show, but the early morning timeslot of 5:40am may have been a bit of a rough wake up for some.
Top photo of Boris Herrmann finishing the Vendee Globe by Team Malizia