In 2011 I thought the World ARC was the final frontier in my exploration of our massively diverse sport. And then, this year, I discovered the multihull and Class 40 world.

In the past three months, I have sailed nearly 2,000 miles in the planing monohulls of the Class 40, raced an AC 45 in the America’s Cup World Series and as I write am sliding along the South Shore of Long Island in a MOD 70 trimaran in full moonlight with the worlds top (read French) multihull sailors.

It’s not just the exhilleration of this new type of sailing that is fascinating but the French sailors and their affinity for the open see that is so inspiring.

Our skipper tonight on Edomond de Rothchild is Sebastien Josse, 37, a Vendee Globe and Volvo sailor considered the top young sailors of the French offshore fraternity. He considers our 100 or so-mile jaunt in the Kyrs Ocean Race Prologue a sprint not worthy of a nap. He smiles at 2:30 am looking at the chart showing us in the lead and leapt from the nav station. It is full moonlight and he bounded along the trampoline with binoculars to see the navigation lights, green and red, of the boat behind. It is likely Michel Desjoyeaux, two-time winner of the Vendee Globe.

Also in the fleet is Yann Guichard, Americas Cup helmsman,
and Pascal Bidegorry, former winner of the Jules Verne Trophy. Our bow man now holds that trophy, 45 days to circle the globe.

These sailors are obviously passionate and are uniquely comfortable living day and night on their moving platform, constantly refining themselves and their boat.

For them, this is a new kind of race. One hatched to effectively bring attention to ocean pollution and water scarcity. This is a race for water, a race for awareness if a problem not yet on people’s radar screens. Their passion for the sea and ability to help mitigate the adverse affects of human existance on it are merging in this race and I cant wait to report on its impact.

For now I am amongst the greatest sailors on the planet seeing the sea, or trying to at least, as clearly as they do: simple, beautiful and pure.

20120703-041104.jpg

Advertisements