Please select your home edition

Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne Race update: Herrmann holding a narrow lead over Beyou

by Julia Huvé 10 Jul 03:41 PDT 9 July 2020
Boris Herrmann leads the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne Race © Boris Herrmann / Seaexplorer YC de Monaco

Approaching the end of the sixth day at sea in the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne Race, it is all change at the top of the leaderboard with the German skipper Boris Herrmann now holding the initiative.

The race is remarkably tight with the top-13 boats now spread over only 140 nautical miles of ocean, north-south - an unheard of state of affairs in the Vendée Globe.

But this has been an unusual course for the IMOCA Class with lots of upwind and light airs work and transition zones and right now Herrmann on Sea-Explorer-YC de Monaco has been the one to benefit.

He was leading Jérémie Beyou in second place on Charal by just 1.7 nautical miles with Kevin Escoffier now up to third place on PRB (+3.2). Then it is Charlie Dalin in fourth place on Apivia (+7.0), just ahead of Sam Davies in fifth position on Initiatives-Coeur (+7.9). The leader at the IOC-UNESCO Waypoint, Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut, is now in sixth place (+16.2).

Herrmann had been in sixth place position himself at the mark, 18 miles behind the then leader Ruyant. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his advantage because the lateral separation of the leading boats, west-east, could be more important than their north-south ranking.

This morning there was 45 miles of ocean separating PRB, the most easterly boat of the leading bunch, from Apivia on the western edge. In the next few hours the southwest and westerly breeze is going to fall away and the leaders will be back in light airs before they start to come under the influence of the next depression which is sitting in the mid-north Atlantic to the southwest of them.

Herrmann says he is still working out how to get the best out of Sea Explorer-YC de Monaco after her substantial upgrade during the winter season, which has included new foils and a new coachroof and electronics.

"I still have to learn a lot about the combination of foil rake and keel cant," he said from in board. "It's really these two surfaces that the boat can fly on. Sometimes you need a bit more foil rake but also more keel cant which, initially, creates more drag. But then, as soon as the boat pops up a bit, then it reduces the drag dramatically from the hull and it pays off."

The German skipper says the speed increase with the new foils can be very dramatic on certain points of sail. "I would say it is almost five knots in the most extreme case," he explained. "It means flat water and 80 degrees to the wind and plenty of breeze - 18-20 knots. Then we are incredibly fast and much more than before." He hasn't had exactly those conditions since rounding the IOC-UNESCO Waypoint but the boat has certainly been flying as Herrmann has caught up his rivals in front.

For Herrmann this has race has proved its worth as a replacement for The Transat CIC and the New York-Vendée-Les Sables transatlantic. "This has been a proper warm-up for the Vendée Globe - that is absolutely true," he said. "We had more upwind conditions in the beginning of the race but since then we have manoeuvred a lot, we have sailed in close contact with the other boats and we have been in the cold. So there are some aspects that closely resemble the Vendée Globe."

"I'm very glad that, as a team, were able to participate in this race," he added. "It's a good preparation I feel and I'm sorry for the teams that have had to abandone it."

In the early stages Herrmann was finding it more difficult than usual to settle in to the offshore routine, not least because his wife had just given birth to their first child, a baby daughter. He had two days at home with his family after the birth before it was time to get back to the boat and now he is looking forward to returning home again.

"Now the race will last five more days so probably in a week I will be back home and I'm looking forward to that," he said. In the meantime he and his wife are keeping in close touch on the satellite phone and using video conferencing too.

Out on the race course the fleet is bunched up behind Sea-Explorer-YC de Monaco. This morning the backmarker, Clement Giraud on Vers Un Monde Sans Sida still had 80 miles to go to the IOC-UNESCO Waypoint.

Find out more at

Related Articles

Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne Race video
Get a teste for life aboard with 40 knots raging outside An unprecedented race, extreme conditions, a fierce battle: relive the prelude of the Vendée Globe from the inside. Posted today at 9:22 am
Vendée Globe 2020: Meet Ari Huusela
Ari will become the first Nordic skipper to compete in the race His pathway to compete on the Vendée Globe is like a carefully developed flight plan which is what you might expect from a career long haul pilot. Posted on 2 Aug
11th Hour Racing Team announces training crew
America's Cup winner and former Ocean Race champion recruited 11th Hour Racing Team announced the addition of several high-profile sailors to its training crew this week with five-time Ocean Race veteran Simon Fisher joining the team in France, along with past America's Cup and SailGP winner Kyle Langford. Posted on 1 Aug
Vendee Globe: Eyes on the prize
Alex Thomson is well versed on keeping calm and focused on the prize Having to withdraw from last Autumn's Transat Jacques Vabre was not the optimal start to Alex Thomson's Vendée Globe programme with his new Hugo Boss. Posted on 31 Jul
Celebrating solo sailing and the Vendee Globe
Latest musings from Sail-World's David Schmidt in the USA If this fall's Vendee Globe is anything like the recent Vendee-Arctique-Les Sables D'Olonne, the sailing world is in for a serious treat. Posted on 28 Jul
Boris Herrmann takes lead of provisional ranking
In the IMOCA Globe Series Championship 2018-21 With a little over three months to go until the start of the Vendée Globe and following the preparatory Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne run earlier this month, the championship ranking that groups together IMOCA skippers has been turned on its head. Posted on 26 Jul
Meet the Vendée Globe skippers: Clarisse Crémer
Behind the radiant smile there lies a resolute, talented fighter Behind the radiant smile there lies a resolute, talented fighter. Clarisse Crémer, the skipper of Banque-Populaire X may be an IMOCA and Vendée Globe bizuth, a rookie, but she is a fast learner and has a great mentor in defending champion Armel Le Cléac'h Posted on 25 Jul
Colman forced to halt 2020 Vendée Globe project
A lack of funding has finally required him to call time on his plans A lack of funding has finally required Conrad Colman to call time on his plans to be on the 2020 Vendée Globe start line on November 8th. The Kiwi solo racer's heroic finish, sailing the final 750 miles under jury rig after his mast broke Posted on 24 Jul
11th Hour Racing Team restarts team training
After pandemic delay and postponement of The Ocean Race The 11th Hour Racing Team boat went back in the water last week and team members are gathering in Brittany this week for offshore training sessions and preparations for an early August transatlantic sail to Newport, RI. Posted on 23 Jul
Vendée-Arctique highlights potential of girl power
2020 Vendée Globe shaping up to welcome a record entry of female solo skippers On the last Vendée Globe raced between 2016 and 2017 women were not represented at all. Now four years later, the 2020 race is shaping up to welcome a record entry of female solo skippers. Posted on 23 Jul
Henri-Lloyd 2020 FOOTERNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 2