Rich Wilson knew he needed durable, fast sails when he registered for the 2008-9 Vendée Globe. In the most grueling Vendée Globe in history, which forced 19 of the 30 competitors to retire, Rich Wilson put Doyle Vectran inlaid fiber sails through 28,590 miles of extraordinary hard use with no problems. On March 10, 2009 Rich Wilson crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe solo non stop round the world race off Vendoff Les Sables d’Olonne in 9th place, having raced for 121 days, 00 hours, 41 minutes and 19 seconds.
Rich Wilson is the second American ever to finish the Vendée Globe. The first American to finish was Bruce Schwab, who finished ninth from 20 starters in the 2004-5 race on Ocean Planet. Doyle Sailmakers is proud to have supplied sails for both American finishers.
When Rich was asked about troubles at sea he recounted a few but none of them involved his sails! Sometimes as a sailmaker, it’s great not to be mentioned! When not finishing is not an option, Doyle is the choice.
Find out more about Rich Wilson’s journeys and his continuing educational outreach programs at sitesALIVE.com.
Rich’s speech at the award’s ceremony:
“For me there are 2 Vendée Globes, the one fought at sea, where there were lots of great skippers, particularly French ones. And then the Vendée Globe on dry land. We have a new president, but if we look back to our third president, Thomas Jefferson, he was an Ambassador to France and was inspired by France. My experience confirms his beliefs. During the preparation for 4 months I was always encouraged by French people. They came and spoke to me on the pontoons or when I was preparing the boat. Their words of encouragement came back to me, when I was in one storm after another. I shall always remember how their words of encouragement helped me through those difficult times. And of all of the adventures, I’ll especially remember my arrival back in France.
“I was asked at the start, if I knew how tough it was going to be whether I would have taken part. I said I would reply afterwards. For me, this was not just a race, but something else too. It was all for my schools’ program, Sites Alive, so the difficulties were worth it for all the lessons and essays I sent back. This was an incredible race, particularly for Michel Desjoyeaux. We had some amazing e-mails from him during our voyage.”