By Lee Scott
Over the past six months, as we have all been enjoying our lives, going to work and school, watching television, and spending time with friends, a sailboat regatta has been going on. I only learned about this sailboat race one morning when I noticed my spouse fully engrossed as he watched an internet video.
“What are you watching that is so interesting?,” I asked.
“The Golden Globe,” he responded.
“What?,” I asked.
Now he and I do not watch any of those awards shows on television, so this was quite out of character for him.
“Not the awards show,” he said. “It’s a sailboat regatta.”
I had never heard about this race. Turns out The Golden Globe sailboat race is a 30,000-mile solo, non-stop, round-the-world sailboat race which began this year on July 1 and is expected to take 9-10 months to complete. This year happens to be the 50th anniversary of the original race.
There were 18 boats that started the race, and as of this writing there were only eight left. The boat in the lead is skippered by a 73-year-old Frenchman by the name of Jean-Luc van den Heede. He is about 1,500 miles ahead of the second- place contender. Of the eight remaining, the youngest is a 29-year-old British woman named Susie Goodall.
There are many challenges when you think about a long race alone. It is not just the loneliness, but the sheer energy, strength and stamina to go day after day after day. And food — how do you pack for over six months of food? As I sit here drinking my cappuccino and snacking on fresh berries, I cannot imagine the food they eat.
Now these sailors are all very qualified racers. This is not your average weekend sailor. They had to have many miles of experience in ocean racing and understand navigation along with a list of other qualifications. Also, electronic navigation is not permitted on the boats. That means, no computers, no iPads or iPhones – you get the idea.
I can imagine that the stars and moon at night are spectacular and the sunrises and sunsets mesmerizing, but what about the days of ferocious storms or the other weather extreme — no wind. That is where the experience of these sailors gets tested.
So, while you are enjoying a glass of wine in front of your fireplace and watching the latest Christmas special, know that somewhere in the southern ocean eight sailors are slowly working their way back home. And if you are interested, check out their website goldengloberace.com for more information. In the meantime, have a warm and restful night.