Vendee Globe: Rich Wilson's first quotes

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

“I think it combines with something I said a few minutes ago with the sailors at the top are mostly French sailors, my friend Brian Thompson called me this morning on the iridium to say congratulations, I like to joke that Brian got his start in trimaran because he bought my little one in 1999, but it’s good that there are 4 British new sailors that finished the race, Steve,  Sam,  Dee,  and Brian, still that front pack of boats that went down the Atlantic and across the Indian ocean was all French except for Mike Golding, Bernard Stamm and Dominique were catching up, but so many French sailors and they’re incredible at how fast they can go, and for Michel Desjoyeaux to catch up, incredible at how fast he can go”

“I think it’s very good for the class and race that there was this group of English sailors because it’s always been just French at the top, and also let’s not forget that Bernard and Dominique, in particular when Dominique had his problem with his keel and had to retire I sent him an email to say that the listing of boats would not be the same without Temenos II in there, because for me the new generation of boats, as Mich Desj told me, has 30 percent more power than the previous generation, and much has been made of my age, but Dom is only 3 years younger than me and he’s sailing one of these powerful boats and he’s incredible”

I don’t think that, you can’t be certain that you’re going to make it until you’re here it’s panic, there’s only half a mile to the land, and there’s 30 knots blowing, I mean you’re not finished, if you don’t get this boat organised in the next 2 minutes you’re going to get on the rocks

“the question of whether you’re going to finish or not, the first night there were 4 boats that broke, it cannot be described, even if you’re a sailor, what sailing these boats upwind in the sea is like, they take such abuse, I was wearing a helmet on deck all the time and sometimes down below, but the abuse that these boats take sailing upwind is indescribable, like a continuous car crash, terry’s here somewhere talking to Denis, but terry bought a n incredibly strong boat, and often I could not believe that the boat could survive, but it did”

“I think as was asked at the other location after I broke the rib, and thinking about stopping, I think that for me I had asthma since I was 1 year old and it’s been very severe and I think that for the first 20 years of my life there weren’t any medications so I think, in a strange way that was useful because you can’t stop , if you play a sport you can’t stop, and it’s hardt o breathe you can’t stop, and there’s some level of perseverance or tenacity”

For me, as I said earlier, I knew about the vendee globe but I never considered it because it was too hard, too difficult, too long, too everything, but really the motivating idea was the school program, and when the internet came along and we could actually do that and we had encouragement from newspapers in many countries to publish our series that’s when I thought I could do it

Sleep , sleep, see my friends and family, everyone that’s here

Parts of it I’m sure, last night before the sun went down, some dolphins came alongside as a final escort into the Sables d’Olonne and this morning again and it was nice and it reminded me of when we sailed from New York to Melbourne, and it was great

Maybe joking, but after coming around the second high pressure system in the Atlantic and we were closer to Boston than to France, maybe I should turn left and go home, but also there were very difficult times in the Atlantic when it seemed that every weather system  was upwind and we were making no progress and I didn’t know if my weather selections were good, and there were 3 people on the US that I talked to quite a bit, Ellen Brian and our doctor who became my psychologist probably, but it was very difficult, I was very tired and it seemed like I was getting nowhere and it was very difficult

The fatigue is hard, I’ve had hallucinations at sea before but not this time, but he told me that jean Pierre dick thought jesus Christ was on board with him and I said to him jean Pierre picks good crew

I didn’t have any hallucinations this time but I had a strange dream that overlapped with reality just to describe the level of fatigue which was probably after one of the storms, south atlantic, I had a dream that I needed to download through satellites and the computer a cable 20 ton cable to be able to pick up the boat to get it out of the way that would have 85 knots of wind in it, and I know where all of this came from, we have cables in port la foret that are 20 tons and the storm that capsized the trimaran in 1990 was 85 knots

Obviously you can’t download something physical through the computer, but I was very concerned when I woke up, because the fleet 77 which is the high broad rate satellite telephone had malfunctioned, so it would be impossible to download the 20 ton cable through the iridium, so it was my problem, overlapping with reality

The question was not how could I download something physical through the computer, but the question was how could I do this with a slow broad rate telephone?

“Satisfaction will come. At the moment it is relief from the stress. Twenty fur hours a day, every minute of the day, every minute, every minute waiting for something to go wrong. Like when we are off Argentina or Brasil and the pilots stopped, and I was there in the dark and hand steering and wondering: ‘ now what do I do?’ and so having the stress of that finish now, is very, very good.”

On the new American President:

“I voted here in France on a paper ballot before the election and I was happy that Senator Obama was the winner, and I think that because I was approaching Cape Horn when he took office, I celebrated for five minutes and that was about it, there was just no time.”

On contact with the outside world, and his school programme:

“I was very disciplined and strict about that schedule (the education programme), but I did get a chance to call friends, a few friends in particular who helped in the Atlantic, where it was so long. They helped a lot.”

And when were the good days he recalls:

“There were good days. It was a good day when I climbed the mast and got down safely. That was a good day when I got down safely. Across the Indian Ocean I became friends with Jonny Malbon who was near to me in Artemis, it seemed like we had gale after gale after gale, and we talked through them and that was very good, and so it was very disappointing when he had to retire. I had to face the Pacific alone. It was good in the Atlantic when we were sailing with Raphael (Dinelli) who is doing an incredible project with his solar panels, and with Unai Basurko. In the south Atlantic I made a good weather decision and was able to catch up a little bit, but then everyone went faster than I did.”

“I guess also I am very conservative. I grew up sailing heavier boats which were not so fast, and the potential speed of these boats, I am not accustomed to that speed,. I think you have to sail that fast a lot, to get accustomed to it.

I think that the French sailors have done such a good job with their training. In Port La Foret you see six or seven boats go out and race and train for three days and I have never seen that anywhere else.”

“It is very difficult to describe the abuse the boat takes. It is like a constant car crash all the time. But Thierry Dubois built and incredibly strong boat. So often I could not believe that the boat could survive. But it did .”

On what he learned about himself, perseverance and determination:

“ I think after I broke my rib there was never a question of stopping. For me I have had asthma since I was one year old, and it has been very severe. For the first twenty years of my life there were not any medications. In a strange way that was useful, because when you go out to play a sport, then you can’t stop. It is hard to breathe but you can’t stop. And so there is some level of perseverance and tenacity that came from that.”

Véronique Teurlay

See Vendee Globe Images: 

Subscribe to BYM News Vendee Globe RSS feed and get notified when news, photos and videos are added. 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 March 2009 )