Friday, June 03, 2005

Wrong Way Racers in Beantown

I wrote about the Global Challenge race back in April…if you’re in Boston this weekend, you’ll have the pleasure of viewing the competitors making their only U.S. stop of the entire Global Challenge. The 2004/5 Global Challenge is comprised of twelve teams sailing identical 72 foot steel yachts out of Portsmouth in the UK. Billed as the world's toughest yacht race, the course takes them around the world the 'wrong way', against the prevailing winds and currents, stopping in Buenos Aires, Wellington, Sydney, Cape Town, Boston and La Rochelle before returning to Portsmouth in the UK 10 months later. Check out this article on for some background on the racers and their 30,000-mile, globe-circling race that lays a course the ''wrong way" around (east to west). They’ll be berthed at Rowes Wharf, which, as the article says, makes a natural amphitheater for spectators who walk in from Atlantic Avenue. Local sailors racing include Peter Dowd from Marblehead, and Dave Follett, a high-tech entrepreneur in Boston. Don’t want to get repetitive about how I think today’s safety and navigational advances have made ocean racing safer, and thus less appealing to the world at large - but going around the wrong way is one way to introduce a level of challenge that may (in part) make up for the lack of real drama in ocean racing. It would be interesting to compare which race - the Rolex Transat or the Global Challenge - recieves more notice from the general public. This reminds me of comdian Steven Wright riffing on why so many people pay to watch cars race in a circle...they're all waiting for the crash.

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