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post #5599 of Old 01-01-2014
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Re: Vendee Globe: Sailor's evolution

Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Maybe you are right but I am talking about the way sailors behave. Ellem Mac Arthur is a strange case, a great sailor and a natural talent, no doubt, but that abandoned racing sailing where she was on her prime. Unheard in what regards professional sailors but an attitude we saw among adventurer sailors, like Lamazou, the first winner of the Vendee Globe, also a great sailor.

I am talking about the attitude: we saw all of them on that old movie mumbling around, some crying (including Ellen), all except Desjoieaux that seems completely focused on winning.

If you look at this year's movies you see that kind of attitude regarding some sailors but the top ones have a similar stance to the one that Desjoieaux had already 15 years ago, a professional racing one focused on max performance and victory.


Paulo - You must have missed the part where Desjoyeaux explains how he is unable to start his generator due to insufficient battery strength, then breaks into tears. "Poutain!" is the last thing he says. Then the next scene we see the ingenious system which he jury-rigged to jump start the generator using the force of the boom during a gybe (tripped remotely via webbing attached to a rope clutch holding the mainsheet).

I think one difference between competitors in the VG which may account for the difference in styles you're referring to is that a number of the top sailors are also engineers, naval architects or grew up in the sailing world (as did Desjoyeaux himself, with close friends Jean le Cam and Roland Jourdain). In other words, they are not generally "outsiders" who come to the VG as an adventure - e.g., Pete Goss.

Even Ellen McArthur came to the VG via the Mini Transat and paid her dues for several years, living in France, learning fluent French, etc. And though her longterm interests have not been in ocean racing, her level of organization and professionalism are probably second to nobody. Have to agree with an earlier poster who pointed out that McArthur arguably sailed the best race in 2000/2001 and would probably have beaten Desjoyeaux if she hadn't struck the container (not to take away anything from Mich's well-deserved victory).

If you fast forward to the 2011/2012 VG, it was really LeCleac'h who came across as the "emotionless robot" not Gabart, who looks really shaken in a number of the video feeds from the Southern Ocean, and is clearly moved very deeply by his reception in La Sable at the finish. And yet, the two men had nearly identical campaigns, identical boats, trained together for two years (under Desjoyeaux, no less), and raced neck-and-neck around the world. Both are professional sailors, though I would say Armel has paid more dues so far in his career.

Anyway, I bet we can all agree that anyone who can race an IMOCA 60 around the world, non-stop, singlehanded, is worthy of our respect and admiration. I know I am deeply moved by all of them and their love for the sea.

We deal in lead, friend.
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