The event is the Around Alone 2002. This type of race is perceived to be a European event but interest is growing in North America (2 Californians and 3 Canadians).
The goal of this exercise is trying to ''show the beef'' to any sponsor. We are therefore quantifying sailing audiences but also qualifying them (male-educated-upper income and why they sail).
Lastly, we are trying to define the larger trend of extreme sports from the armchair adventurer perspective (who dreams of doing this?).
This is a little larger, but why do the French go nuts for single-handed (VG, MINI-T, Route du Rhum, Transat...) while Stateside the (uninformed) perception is of cycling before LeMond & Armstrong.
My short answer: even Frenchmen do not like the French and Americans won''t get involved if they cannot immediately brag to one-another.