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Only Frenchmen have won the Vendée – “A sailing race around the world, for singlehanders, without any stopover,” according to Vendée Rich Wilson, Milton Class of 1968, who rounded Cape Horn last week in his boat, Great American III, will not win. Brian Harris, the general manager of the Maine Yacht Center where Rich Wilson’s boat was retrofitted for the race, said in the New York Times “What Rich wants is to be sure to finish,” he said. “In the Vendée, finishing is winning.”

Rich’s resume doesn’t necessarily fit a sailor’s profile. According the Times he “was a math major at Harvard and earned graduate degrees from Harvard Business School and M.I.T.; and he has been a math teacher, an analyst for the Defense Department and an investor.”

The Times notes that Wilson when he finishes will be the second American to complete the Vendée. “Bruce Schwab was the first, in February 2005. But finishing is important to him mostly because from the beginning he has defined his voyage as a learning opportunity. He has been posting log entries, photos and podcasts on the Web site, which also includes a question-and-answer feature and essays written by a team of experts he has assembled.”

To read about the challenges of this race over the world’s open oceans, read “Around the World in as Long as It Takes.”

Around the World in as Long as It Takes