Rich Wilson’s War—Will, Water, and Wind

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on February 5, 2009 · 1 comment

in Athletics, In the News

MIT alums like challenges, but this is extreme. Rich Wilson SM ’76 is competing in the 100+ day Vendée Globe race–solo sailing the Great American III in a lap around the world starting and ending in France. Unlike Charlie Wilson’s War conducted in the dusty sweeps of Afghanistan, this battle is about will, water, and wind. Only 11 of the 30 starting vessels are still in the race and, on Feb. 5, Wilson was still one of them, edging along Uruguay’s coast. And there are weeks to go.

wilsonThe physical challenge is huge for Wilson, who is the oldest competitor and has acute asthma. As the only sailor in often treacherous seas, he gets little sleep. He eats freeze dried food, has a bucket for a toilet, and the New York Times has reported that he’s broken a rib, slashed his face, and last weekend nearly capsized.

He’s been alone since the race began Nov.11, but he’s in touch with supporters and the world daily. Share this adventure virtually via his SitesAlive Foundation site offering daily blogs, podcasts, photos, a live map, and Q&As about sailing and oceanography answered by experts. He’s documenting it all to share this learning experience with K12 students around the world—and you, too, if you like.

Update: Wilson completed the race with a time of 121 days, 41 minutes, with his boat and body in tact.

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