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Kiel Week comeback: Boris Herrmann and Team Malizia are back on the water

by Team Malizia 10 Sep 09:58 PDT
Boris Herrmann and Team Malizia during Kieler Woche © Luke Dorey

It took 219 days from Boris Herrmann's finish at his historic Vendée Globe premiere to his racing comeback on the water. On the 4th of September, the skipper from Hamburg and his Team Malizia set sail on the occasion of the Kiel Week Welcome Race for the first time again.

From today, it will be another 318 days until the eagerly awaited christening of Herrmann's new IMOCA which will take place on the 19th of July 2022 in France. These three milestones mark the opening chapters of the ambitious five-year plan that Germany's best-known sailing racing team is presenting at the 127th Kiel Week.

The new boat is being created in cooperation with the finest minds of the sailing world

"The beginning is half of the whole," as Aristotle proclaimed. Herrmann's team and, above all, the skipper himself, have hardly taken a break in the past seven months since the spectacular ending of the Vendée Globe adventure. Instead, they laid the foundations for their double campaign, the participation in the two most famous races around the world. Their sights are set on The Ocean Race 2022/2023 and the 10th anniversary edition of the Vendée Globe 2024/2025. So far, the main focus while preparing the course of the sports programme with a total of 18 major races, which will take the team to more than 15 countries, has been on the new boat.

The IMOCA racing yacht is currently under construction following ground-breaking design processes and is due to be presented to the public on the 19th of July 2022. "Very few people manage to complete major construction plans on time, but we are ambitious and well on our way," says Herrmann, "the most important considerations and decisions have been taken. We have very good and very strong support from our partners, we don't have to make any compromises."

The design was created in very close coordination between Team Malizia, its mastermind and experienced Imoca expert Boris Herrmann, and the commissioned, well-known naval architecture firm VPLP. The yacht design company founded by Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot-Prévost is responsible for some of the most innovative racing yachts on the planet and has worked for prominent teams such as Banque Populaire, Macif and Hugo Boss. Currently, the leading VPLP heads are devoting themselves to Team Malizia's future foiling Imoca "rocket".

The boat is being built at the world renowned race boat shipyard at Multiplast in Vannes. Since 1981, the shipyard is being considered as a synonym of successful buildings in the international ocean racing sport. Some of the most famous yachts of their time were built here, for races such as the Vendée Globe, The Ocean Race or even the Jules Verne Trophy, including "Sodebo", "Idec Sport", "Groupama" or "Gitana". Renowned German know-how is also involved in the creation of Herrmann's boat: the deck mould is made in the Westerwald region with team partner Schütz in Selters.

Views, insights, prospects: Team Malizia hoists the flag in Kiel

While the racing team's new flagship is being built in France, Team Malizia is flying the flag in Kiel. Boris Herrmann has officially opened Kiel Week last Saturday with the ship's horn signal "long, short, short, long" (Cast off!) as a star guest alongside Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Daniel Günther, Kiel's Lord Mayor Ulf Kämpfer and many guests of honour. Next to Team Malizia's Kiel Week-meeting point with their information stand and open doors for fans, Herrmann set sail for the home game off Kiel in glorious sunshine.

After sailing in the Welcome Race in the morning and the formal ceremony in the afternoon he said: "That was champagne sailing in Kiel today! A fantastic day on the water and an emotional opening ashore, spreading a spirit of departure." Herrmann was sailing with a Kiel Week crew of five on the GC32 catamaran "Malizia 1". On board: Olympic silver medallist Susann Beucke (Strande), circumnavigator Emily Nagel (Bermuda) as well as French GC32 expert Jean-Baptiste Gellée and his compatriot Louis Viat, Malizia's French Team Manager.

Team Malizia is participating in the Kiel Week with a great fleet of boats and a large team. Including the new additions, the Malizia sport and shore team has grown to 16 core members in Germany, France, England and Spain. On top of that, up to 50 women and men regularly support and strengthen the international campaign under the German flag. The different boats presented in Kiel demonstrate the sporting and sustainability demands of the project.

In addition to the fast racing catamaran from the GC32 class, which Herrmann, out of enthusiasm and sailing pleasure, would like to get to Kiel for a stop of the world tour in the future, the crew uses a Greenboats Flax 27 sailing boat for trips during the Kiel Week. Its hull and deck are entirely made of flax. High-tech and sustainable boat-building materials are shown and explained in the Team's information tent.

The recyclable flax material, for instance, will be used for the interior fittings of the future "Seaexplorer". Also presented in Kiel: An innovative electric boat from the Swedish company X Shore. It shows how transport vehicles of the future can help mitigating carbon pollution in an attractive way. "In everything we do, it is important to us to support, promote and drive forward the development of sustainable materials and modern environment-friendly technologies," says Boris Herrmann, explaining his team's wide-ranging appearance in Kiel.

Prince Albert II visits Kiel, a children's programme for marine conservation

The younger generation lies very close to Boris Herrmann's heart, being a father of a one-year-old daughter. The innovative educational programme "My Ocean Challenge" developed by his wife Birte Lorenzen-Herrmann and himself attracts many young fans and marine conservationists during the Kiel Week to the stand at the Kiel-Schilksee Olympic Centre. On the 12th of September from 11:00 to 12:00, the skipper is planning another autograph session there. Herrmann's team members will also show the marine laboratory that he used during his adventurous Vendée Globe race around the world to collect highly valuable scientific data from remote areas and hard-to-reach locations of the planet. The mobile on-board laboratory will also accompany him on board the new IMOCA yacht from the day of the christening onwards and will thus continue to be in the service of science.

Yesterday, Boris Herrmann welcomed a prominent campaigner for the health of the oceans: Prince of Monaco Albert II was a guest at the Bay of Kiel. Together they visited the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel. Prince Albert II himself is a passionate water sports enthusiast, sailor and President of the Mediterranean Science Commission (CIESM), and was, in this capacity, awarded the German Ocean Prize in Kiel in 2016. The Princely Family of Monaco has been committed to the welfare of the seas for more than a century.

Just like Pierre Casiraghi, who founded Team Malizia together with Boris Herrmann back in 2015. Over the upcoming five-year campaign, the Yacht Club de Monaco remains a strong partner, having also initiated a partnership with the Kiel Yacht Club. The alliance between Monaco's marine commitment, Kiel's racing stronghold, Boris Herrmann's Team headquarters in Hamburg and the campaign locations in France has already developed an enormous dynamic.

From The Ocean Race to the Vendée Globe

The Malizia sports programme has been carefully thought out to meet the objectives: Following the boat christening on the 19th of July 2022, there will be an intensive testing and training phase before the starting gun is finally fired in October 2022 for the most famous team race around the world. Ten ports around the world define its route, on which the five-crew Imoca as well as the VOR65 teams circumnavigate the world in ten stages over nine months.

After taking part in subsequent Transatlantic Classics and other Imoca Class challenges, Boris Herrmann will start his second Vendée Globe in November 2024 - no longer as a first-timer, but as an ambitious challenger in the fight for victory in the ultimate test for solo sailors. "We are very aware of how demanding and ambitious our plans are," says Herrmann, "but that is exactly what motivates us strive for top performance in all areas. In doing so, The Ocean Race will also serve us and our new boat very well as a challenging testing ground together with a strong team in view of the following solo challenge, the Vendée Globe 2024."

"A Race we must win!": The joint mission with the partners

The EFG Bank in Monaco, The Yacht Club de Monaco, the Zurich Insurance Group, the logistics company Kühne+Nagel, the global container shipping companies MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company and Hapag-Lloyd are all in the same boat with Boris Herrmann and Team Malizia as powerful and visionary partners. The alliance goes far beyond the sailing goals. Together, the partners want to set new standards in sustainable action. Shining examples of this are already in use, such as Kühne+Nagel's Seaexplorer, which stands for reliability, optimised arrival times and sustainability as an intelligent sea freight service platform.

Sustainable shipping has also long been high on the agenda at Hapag-Lloyd and MSC who are investing heavily in decarbonising their fleets whilst simultaneously maximising environmental performance. Zurich's "Planet Hero Award" programme, for example, demonstrates how insurance and banking companies can contribute to sustainability. The Yacht Club de Monaco's intensive programme to protect the oceans has long been setting standards.

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