He was briefly on the podium during the festive season, and now he’s back. Boris Herrmann is in the throes of pulling off a flawless performance on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco off the coast of Brazil by dislodging Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and Damien Seguin (Apicil). Balmy airs have given the German skipper wings as he reveals his boat’s full potential after his patient careful strategy in the Southern Oceans to preserve it. Today he’s the quickest of the top six.
Grist to the mill
“We entered the final sprint in race mode. I have the conditions I dreamed off. I’m heading north at 1o. I am trying to use 100% of the boat’s potential and my foils, unlike Thomas and Charlie whose foils are damaged. With 13 knots of wind, I am currently doing 15.6 knots and am super happy,” said a delighted Boris.
“We are very close to the others. I am 39 nautical miles from Charlie (Dalin on Apivia) and just over 16 miles from Louis (Burton on Bureau Vallée 2). It’s really exciting, with so much to play for and just under 4,000 nautical miles to the finish. But there’s still a long way to go, including two decisive stages: getting through the Doldrums and sailing up the North Atlantic. It remains wide open and promises to be a very exciting end to the race!”
With thunderstorms being legion off Salvador de Bahia, competitors have to deal with zones of light wind and sudden squalls blasting into the mainsail, making it impossible to relax. With one eye on the chart, another on the horizon, all their attention will be focused on managing sudden changes in wind strength and direction.
Hanging in there
The weather is adding spice to the final sprint. The next big challenge for the top three is the Doldrums, extending 200 to 250 miles wide with the trade winds in the Northern Hemisphere seeming to converge with those from the south hinting at a steady easterly flow. The North Atlantic is close and the slightest tactical error could determine the rest of the race to Les Sables-d’Olonne.
Placings remain fluid, as evidenced by Yannick Bestaven’s situation. The Maître CoQ IV skipper who led the race for nearly a month has slumped to 6th. Nothing is certain, even after 67 days of racing. The suspense is building and looks set to ramp up over the next ten to 12 days estimated for the first to finish.