Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Vendee Globe Story

Most big ocean races have a story to them. You usually don't find out what it is till after the race is finished. It might be the super duper next generation yacht flattens opposition (ABN 1 in last Volvo). It might be saga of masts breaking (last Clipper around the World).

But there is always a story as sailing involve us humans, and we love stories. We tell stories, we make them up, we love to listen, and given a drama such as a sailing across the wide seas, hunt for it until we find it.

So what is the story of this Vendee Globe? Well it can be useful to look at the exception, which is what is happening now. Sam Davies is fighting for 4th place against Marc Guillemot and they are using all their routing skills - or luck - to battle though some lows that are sitting just in their way (as in chart above).

And that's been rare in the last few weeks. It's pretty much been a precession of yachts across the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

So what has this Vendee Globe been about? Well for me the main stories so far are:

1) The high drop out rate: many more boats than expected seem to be hit by serious failures, from keel's dropping off to masts tumbling down.

2) The emergencies - Vincent Riou's demasting in rescuing LeCam and Elies's ghastly broken leg

3) The characters: this is a solo round the world race, where each of the skippers are individuals competing against each other, the weather, and the odds.

And that is where Sam shines: dancing around the deck, growing bean shoots, sending emails and photos, and telling us her thoughts and feelings.



Anonymous said...

I think the other stories that caught my imagination were Vincent Riou's demasting in rescuing LeCam, Elies broken leg and Malbon's disintegrating main

JP said...

Right you are - who could forget that? Well apparently me so have updated the post


Anonymous said...

Brits love plucky underdog stories - is it Wimbeldon already ? - so you musn't forget Derek Hatfield and Spirit of Canada, who on a shoe string operation had to pull out to Hobart.
For the adventurous he is offering to auction crew spots to bring the open 60 home, by way of the horn

JP said...

Wow, to crew the Open 60 round the Horn would be amazing!

Shame he had to pull out - the dedication of sailors like him is truly impressive.