Posted by: fullandbye | January 17, 2009

sail

So, there is this amazingly awesome sailboat race currently underway.

It is called the Vendee Globe and it can be summed up in three words: Solo nonstop circumnavigation. I believe this race to be the most incredible and badass competitive endeavor in the world (with the possible exception of Buzkashi).

Ocean racing (esp. singlehanded or shorthanded racing) is very much so a French game so unsurprisingly the current leader is this French fellow named Michel Desjoyeaux. Called “The Professor” for his methodical, cerebral approach to sailing. His lead is an extraordinary 400 miles or so and growing every minute as he keeps a 3-3.5 knot edge in boat speed over his nearest opponents.

What makes his lead so extraordinary is this: he had to return to port 48 hours and 200 miles into the race. His boat suffered electrical problems just a few days after the start, and by the time he resumed the chase, the leaders were more than 600 miles ahead of him. The boats that sail this race are all of the same class, and very minor differences notwithstanding, they are extremely well matched. This means that to come from a deficit of more than 600 miles only to open up a lead of 400 miles requires skill that is simply mind blowing. Desjoyeaux has sailed absolutely flawlessly. His tactics have been brilliant, his technique flawless, and his judgment impeccable. I hope we wins this one. He deserves it.

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