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The Long Way
January 5, 2005 4:10 AM   Subscribe

Ellen Macarthur is trying to break the solo round-the-world sailing record. From her website you can see stills and videos while she’s enroute, and track her progress. Meanwhile, the Vendee Globe is underway, with 20 sailors racing a similar course – also nonstop, and with no outside assistance allowed. The first solo nonstop circumnavigation was only 35 years ago, and the record has gone from 313 days to 72. It’s the slow way around, to be sure, and that’s probably why only a few dozen people have done it.
posted by Framer (5 comments total)

 
If you had to sail around the world, would you choose to go solo (assuming you had the skills, of course), and deal with the solitude? Or would you want company, and trust that you wouldn't eventually get sick of being with the same people in such close quarters for so long?
posted by Framer at 4:11 AM on January 5, 2005


It would have to be solo, simply because if anybody were forced to endure that sort of confinement with me for any length of time, murder would undoubtedly be done. To misquote the appropriately named Han Solo, I'd be floating home.
posted by veedubya at 4:59 AM on January 5, 2005


The Godforsaken Sea is a gripping book about the Vendee Globe, along the lines of "Into Thin Air."

I spent 45 days along the BC coast on a 30 foot sailboat with a boat-hippy who talked way too much, with his favorite topic of conversation being folk remedies for his hemmorhoids. I still think I would rather go around the world with a companion, regardless, the solitude sounds great in theory but in practice I think it would be maddening - literally.
posted by Rumple at 8:21 AM on January 5, 2005


Ellen MacArthur is one of my heroes, I'm happy to admit. For a sailing geek such as myself, reading her book about what it's like to be alone at sea for so long (during her first Vendee Globe attempt) was a fascinating experience. I recommend it to anyone with any interest in ocean sailing.
posted by Inkoate at 9:25 AM on January 5, 2005


Racing around the world, with or without a crew, is one of the most extreme sports a person can engage in. Although the boats are 60 feet long, they regularly encounter 80 foot waves in the southern ocean. Lookouts for icebergs are never posted because the shock of a racing yacht ramming a mass of ice would certainly throw a person posted on the foredeck into the icy water. If the wind and water don't end your record attempt prematurely, you still have to look out for pirates.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:29 AM on January 5, 2005


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