When Yves Parlier arrived back at Les Sables dOlonne in France on Friday (March 16) after over 126 days at sea, he was a much slimmer but happy man. On November 9th, when he started the Vendee Globe with 23 other round-the-world solo-sailing specialists, Parlier had stocked just enough food for 100 days aboard his high-tech 60-foot sloop Aquitaine Innovations
. Now, over four months later, his finish wouldnt garner any prizeshe arrived well off the pace, more than a month after winner Michel Desjoyeauxbut it did win him the admiration of his fellow competitors, along with that of sports fans and sailors around the globe. This 40-year-olds feat of perseverancewhich some members of the sailing press termed "obsessive"in overcoming a crippling dismasting and a severe shortage of food, proved the kind of heroic mettle that transcends racing and often makes this rare breed of sailor emblematic of the best that the sport can muster.