BMW is taking to the world's oceans to support the sailor Boris Herrmann on a trip around the globe.

Herrmann will solo-pilot the Malizia in the Vendée Globe yacht race.

The global race will kick off in 2020, and BMW is providing technical and engineering support for Herrmann and the Malizia team's founder, Pierre Casiraghi. Specifically, BMW will tap knowledge from its i division and vehicles for materials and drive systems.

The yacht will be a 60-foot long vessel. The size has given BMW engineers quite the challenge as they understand where the right materials will work best. BMW engineers plan to fit the Malizia with carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) to optimize the yacht's sailing 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,"  said Robert Irlinger, head of BMW i.

BMW to support Malizia yacht racing team

BMW to support Malizia yacht racing team

CFRP already works its lightweight magic in the Malizia's navigator seat. The material keeps weight low, and will provide the flexibility Herrmann needs while sailing around the world. BMW will continue to refine the seat design not only for light weight, but also for best ergonomics and comfort. That's important for a one-man trip of 25,000 nautical miles.

BMW i is developing an electric-drive system for Malizia. The system would replace the yacht's diesel power unit with an electric motor and hydrogenerator. The latter would help recoup energy from the yacht's movement to charge the batteries. BMW said it's next-generation i lithium-ion batteries have been engineered and are ready for boating applications.

“Emission-free round the world under race conditions, whilst simultaneously producing your own energy, is a thoroughly inspirational concept,” said Herrmann.

Herrmann is already a decorated and record-holding sailor, but he hopes BMW's support gives him the edge in his upcoming journey around the globe.