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Vendee report 11-5 


Originally scheduled to be the start day, today has turned instead into one of waiting. This is a good thing as it is absolutely howling outside, along with the “beacoup de pluie,” or lots and lots of rain. Adrien, Tim, and I had lunch in a café near the beach so we could watch the psychotic windsurfers get pounded. They were crazy to go out and came back pretty soon after eating it repeatedly in the confused breakers. We also watched a couple of fishing boats almost getting rolled while heading back into the harbor. We shot some hilarious video of each other getting blown around the sidewalks. 

Philippe Jeantot and the skippers obviously made the right decision. Trying to start the race now would be insanely risky. The spectator fleet would be decimated, the TV helicopters couldn’t fly, and any boat with a problem would be on the shore immediately. Basically the right thing to do today is exactly what we are doing, staying inside, eating cheese and testing ‘du vin’ (wine). 

In a response to yesterdays update, it was pointed out to me that I may have mislead you into thinking that Ellen MacArthur’s budget is unlimited. While the Kingfisher budget is most likely in the top ten, what I meant to convey is the unlimited dedication and organization of the Kingfisher team. There is a definite spirit that is aptly summed up by a team motto, “A donf!” which means, “go for it!” or “full on!” What is funny is that the phrase apparently came from a mispronunciation by Ellen of the original French term “A Fond!” But the new word by Ellen stuck like glue, and to say “Ellen, A donf!” is the cheerful rallying call of the team and their fans. 

Many of the skippers in this monumental event enjoy the same dedication and spirit in their teams. It has taken years to prepare and reach the start and although it is a singlehanded race it takes a determined group to pull it off. 

We have been watching the “Vendee Globe Junior” channel on the TV. This is a separate channel with news, stories, and interviews by and for teens and kids about the Vendee globe. It is very comprehensive, with older teens interviewing skippers and their wives and responsibly leading younger kids to see the boats. Sure beats watching teenage ninja turtles. 

Tomorrow I will go over more of the skippers and their boats. 

From a nice warm villa in France,


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