In the cold of Lorient, the Retour à La Base competitors arrived one after the other after the podium. The tired sailors were surprised and moved to see so many people on the pontoons of the Lorient port of La Base.


After racing on the crewed around the world race earlier this year and finishing fifth with Will Harris on the outward double-handed race to Martinique, the Transat Jacques Vabre, before he went back to singlehanded race Herrmann talked pre-start of fleeting moments of self-doubt coupled to his hunger to return to solo mode.  

But in fact Germany’s most popular sailor has conclusively proven he has the boat, the aptitude, the resilience and the mindset to perform on the next edition and go more than one place better than his 5th on the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe. 

Herrmann was in the match from the start gun off Fort-de-France on Thursday 30th November. His choice of staying offshore of the fleet allowed him to lead on the short leg to the Diamond Rock and set him up for the long northwards climb to the train of Atlantic depressions. In the top 10 on the ascent as soon as the winds built Malizia-Seaexplorer made gains and when French skipper Seb Simon (Groupe Dubreuil) had to pitstop into Flores in the Azores with a power blackout, Herrmann moved up to fourth. 


Finished:  10/12/2023 12:02:41 UTC
Elapsed time : 9d 20h 02min 41s
Delta to 1st  : 19h 58min 53s
Delta to finisher ahead : 12h 19min 20s
Theoretical course : 3 497.42 nm / 14.82 nds
Real course : 4 490.12 nm / 19.02 nds


“I’m tired, that’s for sure, but the fight was really fun between our four boats.  It was worth it to race like this and it feels good to finish. With Sam Davies (Initiatives Cœur), we played cat and mouse throughout the race, so it was quite nice. Every time we crossed paths, we sent each other little messages or managed to catch each other on the VHF, always in a good mood. I'm really happy to have had this match because it keeps you awake, and it was a good reference for me and I was able to benchmark myself well. And in the end it is a good result. It  took me a little time to get into it. The four who are in front, they started a little faster out the blocks I didn't get into the rhythm like them, but afterwards I managed to fight well to move up the fleet gradually, so yes I am satisfied."


Finish 10/12/2023 14:55:53 UTC
Race time: 9d 22h 55min 53s
Delta to first: 22h 52min 05s
Delta to previous: 02h 53min 12s
On the theoretical course: 3,497.42 nm / 14.64 kts
Really sailed 4,360.92 nm / 18.25 kts

© © Jean-Louis Carli / Alea / Retour à La Base


“ I loved it. It was such a cool race. And this is such a cool boat but at the same time these boats are so hard and tiring. You are full on, non stop all the time to survive on board. As soon as you get small issues you have to solve them whilst going as fast as possible. And then you get another, and another, dealing with that is so tiring and stressful. It is hard to come back from that level of tiredness, on a boat like this you cannot just rest up and recover. It is non stop, the noise the vibration, you cannot allow yourself to get that tired. It is so full on.”

“For me this race was such a great learning experience for the Vendée Globe. It is the first real solo race I have done with this boat and it is in great shape and the team did a really great job, and so it is great to be able to just send it, and push really hard. You think everything is going to explode and nothing does. And it is like ‘whoaaaaah this is so cool!’ but this is just ten days, the first little step towards the Vendée Globe and I am thinking ‘oh my god I have to now do all this for seven times as long, that is going to be really hard core.”

“I am really happy with sixth, it really is the best I kind of thought I could do., that was the maximum I thought I could do. But in the end there were four of us all fighting over fourth place so it is even more positive because I was so close to fourth. I was able to hold these other boats and stay in the match with these other boats, it was amazing"


Finished:  10/12/2023 16:36:29 UTC
Race time: 10D 00H 36MIN 29S
Time to winner: 1D 00H 32MIN 41S
Time to boat ahead: 01H 40MIN 36S
Really sailed: 4 400.90 NM at an average of 18.29 KTS

© © Anne Beaugé / Retour à La Base



 Arrival time: 20:33:11hrs UTC
Elapsed: 10 days 4 hours 33 min 11 sec
Delta to first:  1d 04h 29min 23s
Delta to sixth: 03h 56min 42s
Sailed 4,343 miles at an actual average speed of 17.76 knots
Average speed on the theoretical route: 14.30 knots

© © Jean-Louis Carli / Alea / Retour à La Base

Source : Retour à La Base