Vendée Globe

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Tuesday 11/20/12 time 12:24 AM


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Hats off, everyone! On Saturday, November 10th  I witnessed something extraordinary: 19 men and 1 woman left off from Les Sables d’Olonne to compete in the seventh Vendée Globe. Vendée Globe is a non-stop solo sailing competition around the world.  This competition takes place every four years like all the most important sports events in the world: World Cup, Olympics, etc. (ice hockey – what’s going on?).


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I am a bit of a sailor myself thanks to the childhood summers spent on the seas. Therefore I admire even more those brave skippers that have just started their long and lonesome journey. They will encounter some rough seas, and not all of the 20 that just left off will make it back to Les Sables. By today, five out of the twenty sailors have already been forced to quit the race.

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I’ve planned my stay in France to last approximately four months so I’ll hopefully be able to see the heroes of the sea to return while I’m still here.  The current record of 84 days is held by Michel Desjoyeaux, a two-time winner of Vendée Globe.

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Vendée Globe is a huge event in Les Sables d’Olonne. A town of approximately 15 000 inhabitants has had over 900 000 visitors since the port was opened and the side events were kicked off three weeks prior to the departure of the boats. Despite the rain and wind there were thousands of people witnessing as the boats left Les Sables. According to my poissonnier (oh yes – I’m bursting dust from my French! And to those of you not familiar with the word: poissonnier means the guy at the fish store that sells me the ingredients for my weekend dinners) there were queues to the harbor already at 5:30 on Saturday morning.

For me it has become a habit to check out the standings and news every night. If you are interested check out www.vendeeglobe.org

P.S. Armel Le Cléac´h on his Banque Populaire is leading and will soon cross the Equator. Amazing how far they have sailed in only 9 days.

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