Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bernard Moitessier, Sea Tramp

The crew of ABN AMRO TWO are making public statements about the tragedy. If you haven't caught up on it there's a good recap in Sailing World.

I'm doing research on nautical verse/quotes to post in the margin of my new template and I came across a once iconic sea gypsy - Bernard Moitessier - a brand new additon to my nautical Pantheon. Bernard, as you can read here, single-handedly circumnavigated around the world in a 39 foot steel ketch to finish first and fastest in the 1969 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Not only have I had the pleasure of learning about this prolific writer and stalwart sailor - but as well I've increased my knowledge (and thus yours) on the origin of offshore racing.

The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race was a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race, held in 1968–1969. It was the first round-the-world yacht race in any format. The race was controversial due to the failure by most competitors to finish the race and because of the suicide of one entrant; however, the race ultimately led to the founding of the BOC Challenge and Vendée Globe round-the-world races, both of which continue to be successful and popular.

4 comments:

Tillerman said...

Surely Moitessier did not win the 1969 Golden Globe Race. He was in position to win but, on entering the South Atlantic, chose to continue sailing rather than head for the finish line in England. He kept sailing east and finished his one-and-a-half times-round-the-world journey in Tahiti.

Robin Knox-Johnston won the race, I believe.

Zephyr said...

Thanks for the save!

Ben said...

A Voyage For Madmen, by Peter Nichols, is a fine portrait of this race.

Peter Williams said...

Robin Knox Johnston did win the race. Speculation has been that Moitessier would handily have won it had he wished, but somehow just couldn't bring hiself to re-integrate with society.

One of our writers has just posted an interesting review about Moitessier's, The Long Way which in certain circles will be seen as heretical, but may be worth a look none-the-less. His essential point is that solo-circumnavigation is a fools game and ... well the act of self-aborbed odd-men. The Donald Crowhust story does support the view to an extent.

In any event, I'll link to it in the event you or your readers may wish to take a look.

Review, Moitessier's, The Long Way