Boris Who?

21 Oct


Boris who you ask? Since you asked, let me tell you. Boris Herrmann. If you are still not sure who Boris is let me explain. A number of years ago I co-founded a new around-the-world race for smaller boats and fewer crew. The Portimão Global Ocean Race was the first global event for Class 40’s and the competitors raced either solo or double-handed.

Shortly after we announced the race I got an email from Boris. He told me he was  505 sailor from Germany and wanted to know if he could enter the race. It was more like, ‘if I get sponsorship and show up with a boat will you let me give you money to enter’. Such is Boris. Quite, unassuming and very polite. Boris did show up with a boat and went on to win the race. He ran his campaign with German precision and that win launched a career as a professional sailor that has been nothing short of remarkable.

In 2010 he, along with Ryan Breymaier, sailed double-handed around the world in the Barcelona World Race. Their IMOCA Open 60 ‘Neutrogena’ was not a new boat and the competition was stiff making their 5th place finish very respectable. Boris notes that the circumnavigation on ‘Neutrogena’ was the highlight of his sailing career. 

In Portimão, prior to the start of his first circumnavigation, he met the legendary Giovanni Soldini. I have a clear mental picture of them huddled on Beluga Racer, Boris’ Class 40, with Gio animatedly giving advice and Boris taking it all in. It was the start of a long friendship that included Boris racing as a key crew member onboard Maserati. Together they sailed over 80,000 nautical miles and almost twice around the world. Along the way they set a very fast reference time for monohulls on the Columbus Route from East to West across the Atlantic. They also won and set the outright record in the 2014 Cape to Rio race as well as a world record of 47 days for the Gold Route sailing from New York to San Francisco rounding Cape Horn against the prevailing winds.

Beluga Racer wins the first leg of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

This past summer Boris again teamed up with Ryan Breymaier to smash the Transpacific record aboard the maxi-trimaran Lending Club and then went on to join Guo Chuan aboard yet another massive multihull Qingdao China to set a reference record transiting the Northeast Passage from the Russian city of from Murmansk to  the Bering Straits.
You may ask why I bring up Boris as a subject to write about. I noticed a press release this week that had Boris as crew aboard IDEC, Francis Joyon’s challenge for the Jules Verne trophy, a non-stop lap of the planet. IDEC was formerly Lending Club and has undergone a refit to prepare for the record attempt. It was also formerly known as Groupama 3 and in 2010 held the record for the fastest circumnavigation. Joyon in a statement said that he was only taking skippers on his boat, people who were skilled enough to handle every aspect of the boat at any given time. I would say that Boris has come a long way since that tentative email back in 2007 and I will also like to add one thing. I often get asked how one gets into the world of professional sailing. From the outside it looks impenetrable and almost impossible for someone who does not have an in with a top team. May I suggest that they follow Boris’ lead. Hard work, determination, skill and persistence when applied consistently can get you from being a 505 sailor to one of the most respected names in international sailing. At the end of the day it’s all about attitude.

This article was syndicated from Great Circle Sails Blog

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