Press Release – November 3, 1999
Bruce explains to his Mom exactly what race he’s doing (this time).
Mom, you asked me to clarify exactly which around the world race I am doing. It can be confusing since there a number of them, so here goes:
The race I am entered in is the “Vendee Globe Challenge” which is non-stop, around the world, singlehanded. It is raced every 4 years. The last race, won in 1996/1997 by Frenchman Christophe Auguin, is well documented in Derek Lundy’s scary book “The Godforsaken Sea.” Also read “Close to the Wind” by Pete Goss, the English entry who rescued Frenchman Raphael Dinelli after his boat sank.
This race is considered the top of the solo sailing pyramid, and is unbelievably popular in Europe. Something like 100,000 people a day (for weeks on end) visitthe start & finish in Les Sables De Olonne, France. The media crescendo of the start is legendary with a reported peak of over 300,000 tourists in town to watch. Make your reservations early, Wocket Fans!
The “Around Alone” is likewise raced every 4 years, 2 years apart from the Vendee. This race is also singlehanded, but is raced in 4 legs, with a lot of fanfare at each stopover. The last race finished this spring after a dramatic event. The winner of class 1 (the “Open60’s”) was the colorful Italian Giovanni Soldini, who rescued the legendary Isabelle Autissier after she capsized while leading the race, in thefar reaches of the southern ocean. I met both of these famous sailors recently in France, as you may recall from my earlier report. I actually talked to J.P. Moulingne, the winner of class 2, today on the phone. Brad Van Liew was the only American finisher in the race, 3rd in class 2. Brad has become quite a hero. In France, I saw school kids call him by name for his autograph. Brad has also been very helpful to us with his advice and connections, as he is now part of the around the world”club”.
The “Volvo” (formerly the Whitbread) around the world race, is for crewed boats. This is now be raced in a class of boats called the”Volvo 60’s”. The next version of the race will start in the fall of 2001, raced in 9 legs. Several teams are already testing boats and crews. My friend Mark Rudiger was the navigator aboard “EF Language” the winnerof the last Whitbread. He just announced his campaign for the next Volvo, with a proposed budget of something like 14-15 million. The media coverage of this event is colossal, with specials on ESPN, etc. The website had something like 6 million hits on the day the fleet finished leg 2 in New Zealand.
The “Jules Verne Trophy” is the race that was started when prize money was offered for the first crewed boat to sail around the world, non-stop, in under 80 days. The first boat to pull this off was “Commodore Explorer” which just barely made it in 79 days. Then “ENZA” from New Zealand, skippered by one of the most famous sailors in the world, Sir Peter Blake, set the record with a run of 75 (74?) days. Blake then went on to win the Americas Cup in San Diego to take cup to New Zealand. (The Americas Cup is now underway there now) This guy’s resume is unbelievable. The record has since been broken again by a French team whose skipper I forget at the moment, which is strange because he is another superstar. The attempts and records in thisevent have been in giant catamarans or trimarans in the 70-90 foot range. This string of records has led to:
“THE RACE” which will start on january 1st, 2001. This race is crewed, non-stop, with no limit on boat size. A couple of mega-boats are being built for this crazy deal. The first on the water is “Playstation” owned by billionare adventurer Steve Fossett, also known as “The manwho fell to Earth, twice” for his ballooning exploits. Playstation has seta new 24hr sailing speed record of 580 miles(!). The crew includes my friends Stan Honey (navigator) and Peter Hogg (a contributor to “Madein America”, coincidentally).
The British Hero, Pete Goss (who rescued Frenchman Rafael Dinelli in the 1996/1997 Vendee) is building another giant cat for this event.
There are a couple of other around the world races, but these are the main events. Any questions? Is everyone ready for a quiz?
Made in America team skipper(Team Wylie Wocket!)
PS: Don’t miss our fundraiser party bash, on Sunday, December 12th at the Encinal YC in Alameda, California, 5-9pm! There will lots of fun stuff going on, with raffles, etc. We also introduce the hot new “Wocket Wear” and classy “Made in America” clothing!