Dear Zhiyuan: Great American III was designed by Bernard Nivelt and built and raced by Thierry Dubois in 2000. She was a fiberglass boat, with 2 rudders, 1 canting keel, and 1 centerline daggerboard ( a fin that slides up and down and helps the boat to go straight in the water). Thierry raced her in Vendée Globe 2000, plus another solo around the world race in 2002 that had port stops, then she was chartered to Patride Carpentier for the Vendée Globe 2004, then I sailed her in Vendée Globe 2008, then Derek Hatfield sailed her in 2010 Five Oceans race , another solo race around the world with port stops. So she has completed 5 solo round the world voyages! Great American IV is an Owen-Clarke design, built by Southern Ocean Marine in New Zealand in 2006 for Dominique Wavre, a Swiss sailor. Her hull, 2 rudders, 2 daggerboards, and canting keel, are all built of carbon. As are her mast and boom and rigging. She has a slightly wider shape than Great American III. Dominique sailed her in Vendée Globe 2008 and Vendée Globe 2012, and also in the Barcelone World Race (double handed around the world non-stop) with his wife Michele Paret. Great American IV is a 6 year newer design, and so with the natural advances in thinking in design, she is faster than Great American III. But Great American III was a great boat nonetheless and was perfect for my first Vendée Globe.

Question submitted by Zhiyuan Chen, Shanghai Datong High School, China