The real Vendee finish…
On May 7, we had one heck of a party on the beach at Les Sables d’Olonne, along with over 50,000 spectators and the other Vendee skippers. The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd would have been incredibly exciting even without the amazing fireworks displays!
Earlier in the day, a crowd of Ocean Planet fans and supporters put out our Giant U.S. flag. Other signs appeared here and there also….and kids with Ocean Planet hats…;-)
I was pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing.
Just the fireworks display alone probably cost more than our whole budget for the race!
By the time the top three finishers; Mike Golding, Jean Le Cam, and the now supreme solo sailor in the world, Vincent Roux reached the stage, the fireworks were blasting as each walked down the steps of the colossal stage the cheering was deafening.
I wish all of you could have been there, even if it was already crowded. You would have had a great time. The truth is that although I was the one getting to go on the stage, the real heroes are all of you who supported Ocean Planet and made it possible.
Will I back here for the start, finish, and awards in four years? Definitely, but I doubt if I will be a skipper. To mount an American campaign with the intent of reaching the podium of the Vendee Globe is a very formidible task. Especially when the sponsor of the last two winners, Michel Desjoyeaux and Vincent Roux, PRB, is building EACH OF THEM them brand new boats and both are entering the 2008 race. This means two complete top-notch teams, and certainly a combined budget of over 7 Million euros. To do a single new boat with a chance of winning would be around $4 million U.S. But hey, that’s peanut shells compared to an America’s cup campaign or even a Volvo Race project….;-) So it could be done. And should be, don’t you think?
And that could include continuing our very successful Ocean Science education and awareness efforts.
Think about it.
Tomorrow we sail from Les Sables with a boatload of memories, and three crew: Andrew Roberts (London), Jason Brinkman (Portland, OR), and Ken Scott (also Portland, OR). When we arrive on June 3 in Portland, Maine, it will be a very emotional arrival, after the voyage of a lifetime. I hope to see you there! For more info on the Ocean Planet Homecoming Celebration, check out: OceanPlanet Homecoming!
See you there?
Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet