Unfortunately, none of these photos are of Ugo Igo Too braving the wild waters of Emerald Lake.
The Vendee Globe is really an amazing feat of sailing and endurance. This year, 30 boats started and 18 have retired as of January 21, 2009. It will take the winner a bit less than 3 months to finish. The fellows at the tail end of the race will take over 4 months to finish! No going ashore. No tying off to another boat. No help of any kind from anybody. They spend a great deal of time in the Southern Ocean as they sail the length of the Atlantic to the the Cape of Good Hope, then south of Australia to Cape Horn before reentering the Atlantic and sailing back to the starting point at Les Sables d’Olonne in France. The Southern Ocean is a wild, windy, lonely place. There is no other boat traffic down there and these sailors are often thousands of miles from any help.
This year there have been some dramatic occurrences. One of the French skippers had his femur broken while he was out on deck in a storm. He had to crawl into his cabin and then wait over two days before an Australian naval vessel reached him to take him back to Fremantle to be operated on. I can’t imagine.