Small old boats in the Southern Ocean
If you are following the Golden Globe Race, then you are aware of the carnage out there. Several yachts have retired and it was announced overnight that Norwegian skipper Are Wiig's Olleanna was rolled and dismasted overnight.
If you haven't been following, the GGR is a re-creation of the original solo non-stop around the world Golden Globe Race. They have rules about boats, navigation, assistance, classes, etc. The Longue Route is a tribute to Bernard Moitessier, one of the contestants in the GGR who was in the lead when he decided not to finish as prescribed but to continue on into the Pacific to 'save his soul' and become immortalized as the ultimate icon in cruising. The Longue Route has no rules, no fees and no set start time or finish. That they started off at roughly the same time means that they are all out there, alone, sailing together.
The tracker for the Longue Route is following the GGR Fleet as well so you can see all the boats taking part in both events on one screen - it's pretty bizarre to think of all these small old boats navigating the 'old way' heading into the Southern Ocean. There are 18 single-handers in the GGR race and another 26 taking part in the Longue Route 'pilgrimage' sailing around the world alone, toasting Neptune and braving the elements at sea. Among them are my personal two favourites: Susanne Huber-Curphy and Susie Goodall.
There are three women sailing the Longue Route. Susanne (Germany), currently leading the LR fleet, Oksana Selezneva (GB) and Monika Matis (GB). Susie (UK) is sailing in the GGR and the lone woman. These women are brave, strong and great role models. I am rooting for them all. Susanne is being chased the entire way by her husband, Tony Curphy also in the LR, while Jean-Luc VDH has overtaken Susanne in the GGR. How crazy is it for all these people to be out there sailing around the earth without stopping to see it just to test their own mettle? It's not for me, that's for certain. But I do admire them for their courage.
The fleet map is here. Enjoy.