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Vendée Globe sailors join the fight against climate change. Here's more on their mission.

Sailboats descend on New York Harbor in advance of Vendée Globe
Sailboats descend on New York Harbor in advance of Vendée Globe 02:16

NEW YORK -- Boris Herrmann has made it around the world in 80 days, literally. That was how long it took for him to reach the finish line in 2020 during the Vendée Globe, often called the ultimate test in ocean racing.

"It's the pinnacle of our sport, you could say if you want. It is the ultimate challenge, the Everest of the seas," he said.

It's a solo, non-stop race around the world. This November will be the 10th edition of the event that happens every four years. May 29 is the last qualifying race, taking off from the Statue of Liberty on a transatlantic run to France.

"This race is very important for us, it's the best way to prepare," Herrmann said.

Vendee Globe's president, Alain LeBoeuf, said there's a cultural connection reflected in the event.

"It's a long history of relationships between New York, France, and Vendée and it's a great opportunity to foster these relationships," he said through a translator.

Why climate change matters to the sailors

On Friday, boats raced through New York Harbor in an exposition, showing off their unique features, including the UNESCO equipment on board many of the vessels which help collect data for scientists studying climate change.

"Fifty percent of the ships would be equipped by such sensors, but the objective is to be mandatory for all the ships in the next edition in four years," LeBoeuf explained.

"With our sport, we are witnessing climate change on a global scale. When we race around the planet nonstop, the travel time is determined by the ice barrier in the Southern Hemisphere, where we circumnavigate the whole of Antarctica," Herrmann, originally from Germany, said.

As sailors trek around the most treacherous seas relying solely on nature, they also help scientists protect the oceans, both fearsome and fragile.

The Vendée Globe will kick off from France on Nov. 10 with 40 participating yachts, and will finish in early 2025.

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