Introduction, by Rich Wilson

When we crossed the equator heading south on November 19, I wondered what would lie ahead, for us and for each of the skippers, in the south and in the Southern Ocean, rounding the three Great Capes, before we would cross the Line again heading north.

As I think about it now, I find many of the skippers’ exploits completely inspiring: Eric Bellion and then Alan Roura having to change a rudder at sea, a prodigious task; Conrad Colman putting out a fire in his solar regulators; Romain Attanasio going to the masthead to try to get his wind instruments to work; Enda O’Coineen going aloft to repair his lazy jacks; and many more. These feats were obviously done all alone, hundreds if not thousands of miles from land.

Not many will undertake the solitude of the Vendée Globe, which places the skippers starkly in this ‘alone’ environment. Although people on land will have others around, we all will be conducting voyages through life on our own, with our one chance at this life.

I started to muse on Inspiration, and who has inspired me, toward making me the person I am, with the result that I am out here sailing the Vendée Globe and delivering all manner of content into our sitesALIVE! school program for global consumption by students and teachers.

Three people came to my mind. We have decided to add extra essays to our sitesALIVE! program, to stand separately from our formal curriculum, but usefully I believe, in a category called Inspiration. We have invited two of those to write for us along with my essay on why they inspire me.

They are:

‘The Original Adventurer in our Family: My Mother, Dorothy Ann (Simpson) Wilson’
My mother, Dorothy Ann (Simpson) Wilson, was the original adventurer in our family, going as a single woman in 1940 to Fairbanks, Alaska to help build and then operate the first commercial radio station in the Alaskan Territory, KFAR-660. What kind of adventure must that have been! Twenty years before Alaska became a state! Instead of writing a new essay on my mother, who died in 2010, we include my Eulogy at her funeral, as it is the best writing that I could do to describe her. Read Eulogy

‘My Most Admired Career: Steve Schanzer, U.S. Government Worker’
Please see my Essay on Steve, and his own on why he worked for the U.S. Government for his significant career.

‘My Most Courageous Friend: Nadeem Qureshi, Founder, Mustaqbil Pakistan’
Please see my Essay on Nadeem, and his own on why he left a successful business career to go back to his native Pakistan and start a new political party.


What Kennedy Said

Rich and I first became friends in 1977 at Analytic Services, a federally funded “think tank” in Washington, D.C., where we spent a few years... read more