Michel Desjoyeaux

Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Michel Desjoyeaux. He is the quiet Frenchman who not only won the Vendee Globe (non-stop, around the world solo) on his first try in 2001, but also won in his second attempt, sailing victorious past the tens of thousands of admirers into Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, last spring.

In the vagaries of transoceanic sailing, Desjoyeaux’s results are nothing short of remarkable.

We will be working together on several writing projects where I will likely be visiting him in France to learn about his psychological, emotional and technical approach to this fascinating discipline.

I have reported extensively for The New York Times on this area of the sport and particularly the most recent Vendee. I wrote story after story as the leaders seemed to be plucked off the course by mother nature with rigs falling, keels failing and bones breaking. Known as “The Professor,” Desjoyeaux methodically and calmly wove his way around the world with an efficiency neverbefore seen and only fueled by 15-20 minute cat naps.

He said today that this time of year is for preparing the boat, strengthening its weaknesses and improving safety in systems and technique. I hope you check out his site or my video desk to learn more about one of the most exceptional athletes in any sport, Michel Desjoyeaux, and I will report here on my exploration of his life later this spring.