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Sunday, 22 February 2009


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“…like placing sixth at the 24 hours of Le Mans 18 months after getting your driver's license.”

Not sure if you intended it, but that sounds to me as if you are implying the Ms Caffari had never sailed until 18 months prior to this 6th place finish. Not quit true. In 2005 or 6 she sailed solo around the world (it took her 6 months) and became the first women to ever sail alone around the world against the prevailing currents and winds (which is why she is now the first women to ever sail around the world in both directions). This was only four months after she captained a crew in the 2004/5 Global Challenge Race, a race that lasts 10 months. She was the only female skipper among the contestants. She started training for that race after watching the finish of the 2000/1 Global Challenge Race. Before that, as far as I know, she had never sailed competitively, certainly not in any of these endurance races.

None of this is said to diminish what she accomplished. What she has done is remarkable (see how many people are remarking upon it…). Apparently she has a habit of watching something, saying, “Hey. I want to do that,” and in an absurdly short period of time, doing it.

I used to mess around with sail boats and this brought back memories of the 1969 Golden Globe race with Bernard Moitessier 1 and 1/2 times around the world, Robin Knox-Johnson's win and the mysterious death of Donald Crowhurst.

Likes sailboats too, no wonder I enjoy your site so much.

Having actually driven the 24hrs of LeMans, twice (and not finishing it either time), and knowing how exhausting, and isolating that 24hr race is, an 80+ day race without any crew or co-sailor support is indeed a feat.

In fact, these are among the very few people on earth crazier than I am...

What, no Passe Partout?

Oh, my.


Thrilling sport, brave contestants and inspiring rescue.

But, I can't help thinking... What bozo designs a boat for these conditions, that is not self righting.

They're very strongly self-righting--in fact they have to pass rollover tests--


...But not without their keel weights!! Look at the capsized boat picture carefully--no keel bulb.


Open 60 racing, like digital photography, a hobby for the super rich.

Not really, because not many of the skippers pay their own way. They go out and drum up sponsors (it helps if someone in power at the companies is enthusiastic about ocean racing), the sponsors pay the bills (and slather their advertisements all over the boats--sometimes they name the boats after their companies). The race gets more popular (in France, at least), and the sponsors get advertising value from it. It's not like a lot of skippers are rich guys (and women) out for a lark and buying their own boats and paying their own expenses. Although there are exceptions--I believe Larry Ellison of Oracle and Rupert Murdoch's son are ocean racers, although I heard the latter swore off it when his boat got pounded nearly to bits in a storm and he came within a skinny sliver of becoming an ex-rich-guy.

Whether ocean racing is a responsible use of corporate funds is something you'd have to take up with the sponsors.


P.S. I'm really only an occasional fan of this sport (like I'm a horse racing fan on Derby Day and a baseball fan for the Championship games and the Series), so don't impart too much weight to my slender knowledge!

They believe the boat hit a container that was floating just below the surface and it took the keel bulb clean off. Hitting these shipping containers which occasionally fall overboard and large whales pose the biggest danger to these racing boats.

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