It may have taken place on screens, but the children’s excitement was palpable Wednesday morning when Boris Herrmann talked to pupils from several schools in the CM1 and CM2 classes (9-10 year olds) in the Principality and France.
As someone who loves the open water, Boris, 39, enjoys nothing better than talking to others about his passion and love of the ocean. The first German to compete in this legendary race, he is on Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco, the first IMOCA to officially represent the Principality of Monaco, realising a dream he has had since childhood to compete in this solo round the world race without assistance. It is a challenge that raised many questions from these youngsters.
While some wondered how much food he had on board, others were worried about the boat capsizing and what Boris had planned for Christmas. Innocent questions that touched the sailor who spent a whole hour on this Q&A session. Pupils learned his favourite dish is cassoulet, that he sometimes gets seasick and that his passion for the open sea comes from a film he watched when he was 16. “I was fascinated by the images which have never left me,” he said. “If you have a dream, whatever it is, you must cling to it and believe in it because anything is possible”, a phrase that resonated with his young audience, amazed at being able to talk direct to someone about to tackle what many a sailor dubs the “Everest of the Seas”.
Boris also took the opportunity to tell the kids about the missions that await him on his epic voyage, explaining how “the whole world will be able to see the data collected by the onboard laboratory. Wind speed, the angle of the boat, air and water temperatures and salinity, as well as the PH and CO2 content of the ocean will be visible on the Yacht Club de Monaco’s website”. Like the other 32 skippers, Boris Herrmann will comply with strict health measures introduced by the race director and isolate himself before the start – an isolation period that precedes another which begins at 1.00pm on Sunday 8th November from Les Sables-d’Olonne.
In Vendée Globe skippers’ shoes
A race of superlatives, the Vendée Globe continues to impress even after nine editions. To shed light on issues that will arise, every Wednesday the YCM is organising a meeting late afternoon to answer questions rookie sailors will undoubtedly want to ask.
Hosted by Thierry Leret from the YCM’s Sports Section, the weekly updates will be a chance for racers and sports members to understand what awaits skippers, with three legendary capes to round (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) and in what conditions. The Vendée Globe is not short of obstacles.
In the coming weeks everything will be discussed, from understanding weather phenomena that await to discovering what life is like and how it’s organised on an IMOCA, analysing different strategies, etc. Each week there will be a different expert on hand to share their experiences, people like sailor and former Route du Rhum race director, Gilles Chiorri, former Vendée Globe race director Denis Horeau, sailor Philippe Monnet who went round the world “the wrong way” solo, Christian Dumard, a route-planner for top sailors, and many others.
Although the race remains physically inaccessible, people can experience the adventure by proxy in a Virtual Regatta game, the rules of which were explained today so that anyone can embark on the IMOCA adventure from home. Olivier Ogéron, who tops the Virtual Regatta Offshore Hall of Fame leaderboard, will be on hand to give advice and guide participants who are new to the software. For while many a sailor dreams of the Vendée Globe, it also fuels the imagination of those on shore.