The boat is pretty badass. And then you see him…

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People have said a lot about the guy, nothing about the yacht.

This is an Open 60, 60 foot (18.25m) long racing yacht. Like the rest of her class, she has a mast 27.5m high, with a 4.5m draught. Outside the open-box rules, the skippers are allowed to customise their boats, so Hugo BOSS weighs in at about 8 tonnes, the streamlined orange keelbulb in the picture making up half of that. She races in the IMOCA world championship, a 4 year competition which involves some of the most extreme sport in the world. The skippers all race solo, in various transatlantic races and less distinguished, smaller races…and the ultimate prize, The Vendée Globe, single-handed, non-stop, around the world. It’s an extraordinary plateau of human sporting achievement.

Edit; I thought people might want to know about the sport as well.

(TL;DR, look up the Vendée Globe, it’s awesome)

In the 1996/7 race (normally it takes about 3-4 months, and they leave France in November, to avoid the southern ocean winter storms, which are more numerous and more powerful than anywhere else) one of the skips was tossed across the cabin when a wave knocked his boat down and bit his tongue off. He sewed it back on himself a few hours later, when the storm had died down a little. Another skipper was hit by a knockdown, broke three ribs and continued. In the 2000/1 race, one skip spent more than a hundred days finishing the race because he had a failure off the west coast of south America. He fixed it and proceeded to sail round Cape Horn, having survived on boiled seaweed and fish because you’re forbidden to touch land and it took him 2 weeks to fix his boat. The Vendée Globe is like a single person racing Le Mans in a formula one car, only it’s less comfortable, it lasts for much *much* longer, the driver has to know how to fix the car and him/herself, trust him/herself to sleep and make the right decisions when s/he is too sleepdeprived and judge when to do everything. It’s absolutely *amazing*.

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