Michel Desjoyeaux, the only two-time winner of the Vendée Globe, once said “the race is won before the start”. In other words, preparation is everything.
The three parts of our program which we must prepare are: the skipper, the boat, and our school program sitesALIVE! Fortunately, we have terrific teams for each who are smart, experienced, creative, dedicated, and hard-working. Although this is a solo race, I will not sail only for myself. I will sail for our teams, and for you students, as you are the most important reason that we are doing this.
For my physical preparation, I trained again with Marti Shea (see our Team of Experts). Marti is a former All-American distance runner and World Champion cyclist, and is an imaginative and demanding trainer. She said that, except for natural degradation of fitness due to age (she estimated 5% loss), I am in as good shape as I was 8 years ago when we sailed and finished Vendée Globe 2008-9.
For the boat, Great American IV (formerly Mirabaud, with Swiss skipper Dominique Wavre, and built in New Zealand in 2006), our technical leader is Joff Brown (English), who has been captain for three successful Vendée Globe boats. His attention to detail is astonishing. It is the correct approach, since the Vendée Globe can succeed or fail on the tiniest of details within this highly complex machine that must thrive in a hostile environment.
For our sitesALIVE! program, we have a multi-talented team led by Rick Simpson and Lauren Zike. They oversee our global partnerships and content distribution in 50 countries and 4 languages. Our curriculum is ready, the website is ready, and our Team of Experts is ready.
We have been three years in these preparations – and now it’s time to sail!