For the first time, a German sailor is aiming to take on one of the greatest and toughest challenges in yachting: the Vendée Globe. The route takes participants on a journey of 25,000 nautical miles along the storm-tossed Southern Ocean and all around the globe. The race is referred to as the ‘Mount Everest’ of sailing. Hamburg native Boris Herrmann is planning to compete for the Yacht Club de Monaco with the yacht ‘Malizia’ in the next edition of the solo regatta, which will start in November 2020. As Team Partner, BMW is bringing its automobile manufacturing expertise and experience of technology transfer to competitive sailing. BMW has been involved in the America’s Cup since 2002 and claimed victory in the most sought-after trophy in yachting with BMW ORACLE Racing in 2010.

The ‘Malizia’, a racing yacht that measures 60 feet in length, is being optimized for the world’s toughest solo sporting competition, which will take place in November 2020. BMW development engineers have been involved in the identification of areas where the car manufacturer will be able to provide support, in the form of lightweight construction and electric drive expertise for which the visionary BMW i technology provides the basis.

“BMW i vehicles and the racing yacht ‘Malizia’ have both pushed the boundaries of physics to near their limits, and both are facing similar technological challenges,” said Dr. Robert Irlinger, Head of BMW i. “The smallest detail can have a massive effect. During the development of the BMW i8 Roadster, we fought for the lowest possible cx value in the aerodynamics and for every ounce of weight saved in the CFRP cell, in order to optimize consumption and performance. The best possible aerodynamics and intelligent lightweight construction allow the boat to reach higher speeds, making them decisive success factors for a racing yacht.”

For those reasons, intelligent lightweight construction is one of the areas where BMW and Team Malizia are collaborating. The first result of this technological collaboration is the navigator’s seat, constructed from CFRP. This is where Herrmann will spend much of his time during the Vendée Globe. “We are aiming to use our CFRP expertise to optimize weight. We will also continue to develop the seat in terms of ergonomics and comfort, to provide Herrmann with the best possible conditions to work and relax as he sails around the world,” says Dr. Irlinger. Testing has already started on a first prototype. During the yacht’s transfer from the shipyard in Lorient (Brittany) to its home port of Monaco, Boris Herrmann was able to gain important insights that will play a part in further development of the seat. A further test is scheduled to take place in April/May, at the record attempt on the Mediterranean route from Marseille, in the south of France, to Carthage in Tunisia.