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Boris Herrmann celebrates completing the Vendee Globe
Boris Herrmann was in a celebratory mood - despite a collision that may have cost him victory.Image: Team-Malizia/dpa/picture alliance

Collision ends Boris Hermann's bid for debut victory

January 28, 2021

France's Yannick Bestaven won the Vendee Globe ocean race, while Boris Hermann became the first German to complete one of the world's toughest solo sailing events. Both were involved in rescuing a fellow competitor.


The 48-year-old Frenchman, Yannick Bestaven, crossed the finish line with a time of 80 days, 13 hours, 59 minutes and 46 seconds at Les Sables d'Olonne, France in the early hours of Thursday local time, to win the Vendee Globe regatta.

Bestaven actually arrived behind Charlie Dalin and Louis Burton, but a time-bonus of 10 hours and 15 minutes meant he was handed the win, having finished with a better time than his compatriots, who came in second and third respectively.

Bestaven's time bonus was awarded for his role in the rescue of a competitor, whose boat had sunk earlier in the race.

Vendee Globe winner Yannick Bestaven
Yannick Bestaven won the ninth edition of the Vendee Globe despite being the third to cross the finish lineImage: Loic Venance/AP Photo/picture alliance

Germany's Herrmann finishes fourth

Provisionally finishing fourth in his debut in the Vendee Globe race was Boris Herrmann. The 39-year-old German sailor crossed the finish line after 80 days, 20 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds, good enough for fifth place.

However, having been involved in the same rescue as Bestaven, Herrmann was awarded a time credit of six hours, putting him up to fourth.

He could yet be overtaken by Frenchman Jean Le Cam, who is still at sea with a time bonus of 16 hours and 15 minutes.


Just hours before his arrival, Hermann had appeared to be on course for a possible debut victory. 

However, his hopes were scuppered when his yacht collided with a fishing trawler about 90 nautical miles from the finish line. While neither he nor any members of the crew of the trawler was injured, the resulting damage to his yacht meant that he was only able to continue the race at reduced speed.

"I was sleeping, and I woke up looking at this huge wall of the fishing trawler," he explained in a video message posted on YouTube. "I heard a sail ripping and I bounced a few times with the outrigger into the fishing vessel ... I'm really gutted and I'm sorry for everyone that supports us that this happened. It's certainly the worst nightmare that happened to me so far."

Herrmann said that he could not understand why none of the systems in place had alerted him to the danger. 

This was the ninth edition of the Vendee Globe endurance race, which is held every four years, beginning and ending at Les Sables d'Olonne, just off France's Atlantic coast in the Vendee region.


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