Saturday, December 06, 2008

Let's follow another solo sailor

Remember Glenn Wakefield and his attempt to become the first sailor to circumnavigate alone the wrong way aound?

While Glenn wasn't racing anybody, it was certainly exciting to follow his progress - until his adventure came to its premature end with the loss of his beloved Kim Chow. (If you're in Vancouver in January, you can hear Glenn tell his tale in person.)

spirit-of-canada.jpgThere's a solo round-the-world race happening right now, called the Vendee Globe:
In theory, the Vendée Globe is an utterly simple affair. Its fundamental principles come down to a few sentences, compared to which even the roughest logbook would seem sophisticated. A sailing race around the world, for singlehanders, without any stopover. That’s it. In theory at least, because beyond these words start great stories.
There's a Canadian in this race that you might want to follow. His name is Derek Hatfield. Here's an excerpt from his bio:
This former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who became Manager of the Compliance Department at the Toronto Stock Exchange, came to sailing thanks to a neighbour and is already a round the world yachtsman. He in fact became the 126th sailor in the world to have sailed alone around the planet. That was in 2002 at the age of fifty on board a 40-footer christened Spirit of Canada. He finished Around Alone in third place in his class, in spite of a very long stopover for repairs having dismasted off Cape Horn. Named Rolex sailor of the year in 2003 for Canada, he also won the trophy in that same year that bears the name of the late Gerry Roufs.
Finally, and it is far from being the least of his qualities, Derek Hatfield is a keen defender of nature. With the Earth Rangers, a charitable organisation, he has launched a partnership to bring to the attention of children the importance of sustainable development and environmental protection. He will be setting sail with the fully justified pride of taking the first Canadian built Open 60 boat around the world.
I've been watching what's been happening in the Vendee Globe (it started Nov 8) but I hadn't blogged about it until I read a recent update Derek posted on his website about what he'd heard about our recent political shenanigans in Ottawa.
Word from back in Canada is that the government is in a bit of turmoil and the economy is at scary levels. I’m sure more than one of our sponsors are feeling the pinch of the recession. Hang in there and never give up on your goals. I feel a little guilty that I’m out here away from all of these woes but maybe some of you following the race can at least find it a motivating diversion from the financial situation.
That sounded like a great idea to me. So let's all follow along with Derek and let his adventures keep us in a positive frame of mind.

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