Sailing around the world in a 60-foot sailboat, solo, non-stop, and without assistance – that’s the Vendee Globe, a yacht race that starts and finishes in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France. In 2008, Rich Wilson competed in this race along with 29 other skippers. The only American in the fleet, and the oldest at 58, he placed ninth out of the 11 who finished. It was a tough experience — one characterized by injury, extreme fatigue, and a weird, 18-hour hallucination. In this one-on-one conversation, Rich recounts his experiences during this voyage and previous voyages (including a harrowing rescue after a double somersaulting capsize in a 60′ trimaran off Cape Horn in 1990) and discusses his plan to race in the next Vendee Globe. He also talks about the motivation for his voyages, which is to create online learning adventures for middle-school students around the world. Rich’s boat, Great American IV, is managed and fitted out by Brian Harris and his team at Maine Yacht Center in Portland, Maine. The global school program is managed by sitesALIVE Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 that has produced 75 live, interactive, full semester expedition programs for middle schools since 1993.
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