GO IN DEPTH

Vendée Globe 2008: Success

Congratulations to Skipper Wilson who, earlier today, became the ninth sailor to finish the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe race.

After starting out in a field of 30 competitors on November 9, Skipper Wilson battled through cracked ribs, a cut face, broken equipment, and unfriendly sailing conditions to complete his sail around the world in 121 days, 41 minutes, and 19 seconds. With today’s finish, he becomes only the second American ever to finish the Vendée Globe race and ties Bruce Schwab for best placement by an American. (Skipper Schwab finished ninth four years ago.)

Although sailors could finish in as few as 24,840 miles, if they were able to take the shortest route around the globe, that’s not really a likely possibility in real life. So everyone adds extra miles to their trip because of having to sail around storms or to get through ice gates.

Skipper Wilson put in 28,590 hard-fought miles on the Great American III and had a particularly rough ride back through the Atlantic Ocean to port in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. When he finally reached land, though, he was greeted by his sisters and a crowd of well-wishers who were thrilled to see him after his four months at sea.

This video is from the organizers of the Vendée Globe. It’s in French, but the images are understandable in any language.

Two more sailors remain at sea. They are expected to complete their races in the next week or so.

Check back later in the week, when we hope to have more follow-up of Skipper Wilson’s impressive journey.

Congratulations, Skipper Wilson! You’re an inspiration to anyone who has a challenge before them. We’re so proud of you!

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