Race France to France by Rich Wilson
Leave Antarctica to Starboard: An American in the Vendée Globe, Racing Solo, Non-Stop, Around the World

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Mr. Wilson takes us there and back again with openness and honesty, displaying the ocean sailor's requisites...
-WSJ online


An American in the Vendée Globe, Racing Solo, Non-Stop, Around the World

“The Vendée Globe is even a greater challenge than climbing Mt. Everest.”
…Senator John Kerry in a U.S. Senate Tribute to Rich Wilson

“The Vendée Globe is a race that is almost beyond belief.”
…Gary Jobson, ESPN Commentator

In 2008-9, Rich Wilson became only the second American to finish the Vendée Globe, deemed the “most grueling and dangerous prolonged competition on the planet.” (Garry Emmons, HBS Bulletin, 2009)

The senior skipper at age 58, and a severe asthmatic, Wilson finished 9th of 11 finishers of 30 starters, racing 29,000 miles over 121 days in his 60’ boat Great American III. He endured broken ribs, a bloody facial gash, a climb up the mast on his run to Cape Horn, sleep deprivation, exhaustion and fear, while ten gales battered his trusty GA3 on her 4th race around the world. Through all, Wilson demonstrated tenacity, skill, perseverance and determination to finish this epic event.

Written intensely, engagingly, and humbly, Wilson’s book brings you onto his boat in the heat and doldrums of the tropics, in the gales and cold of the south, to see the beauty of the albatross and southern stars, and to feel his fear, fatigue and emotions in the unending stress of a global ocean race. Life lessons abound: the camaraderie among competitors (the defending champion sacrificing his own race to rescue a fellow skipper); tenacity and perseverance; a French boy on the dock declaring “the important thing is to participate”; and the attitude of the engaged French public saying simply “if you finish this race, you’re a winner.”

A lifelong educator, Wilson fulfilled a primary goal of his race: to excite and engage K12 students aboutscience, geography, and math in the real world, by a program produced by sitesALIVE! and published online,and for 15 weeks by Newspaper in Education departments in 50 US Newspapers, including 25 in our Missouri heartland, a thousand miles from ocean in any direction. Reaching 7 million readers weekly, and 200,000 students, Wilson and a Team of Experts (doctors, professors, merchant mariners, artists and authors) wrote essays for students and answered their questions.

Within this human story of adventure, challenge and perseverance, lie natural reader constituencies: sailors, adventurers, seniors, asthmatics, K12, and Francophiles. All will be engaged by Wilson’s remarkable story.

“Have not put the book down since I received my copy this morning! What a thrilling story! Your drive and passion to overcome all obstacles - including chronic severe asthma - is an inspiration to everyone struggling with breathing difficulties. Your sitesALIVE work to educate young people about asthma is terrific. Let’s go 2016!”
...Bill McLin, CEO, Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America

About Rich Wilson

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Rich grew up in Boston and learned how to sail as a young boy.He earned an AB degree from Harvard, an SM degree from MIT, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He recently received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, with the citation: "For his distinguished sailing career and his dedication to educating schoolchildren worldwide."He's been a math teacher in the Boston Public Schools, a defense analyst in Washington DC working on B-52s and cruise missiles, and he worked at Wind Ship Development.He also has served as Trustee of two, college-level, in the field, accredited science semesters: Sea Education Association in Woods Hole; and The School for Field Studies in Beverly, Massachusetts.Along the way, he continued sailing, becoming the youngest winning skipper of the Newport-Bermuda Race in 1980 aboard the 42' ketch Holger Danske.In the early 1990s, Rich founded sitesALIVE!, which became his true passion. sitesALIVE! creates school programs that connect K12 classrooms to adventures and expeditions worldwide. Says Rich: "Excite a kid with bats, bugs, and snakes in the rainforest, or with gales, flying fish, and dolphins at sea, and they will pay attention, not knowing what will happen next. Then the science, geography, and math flow freely." By his program voyages (3 world records on clipper ship routes, San Francisco - Boston, New York - Melbourne, and Hong Kong - New York), as well as 70 content-providing partnerships with accredited field schools worldwide, sitesALIVE! has produced 75 full semester, live, interactive programs for K12.Following this mission, a primary objective of sailing the Vendée Globe was to create a global school program off that uniquely global ocean event.Rich has won:- the 2001 Innovators in Education Award from the Newspaper Association of America Foundation- the SuperAchievers' Award from the American Lung Association- the Blue Water Medal from the Cruising Club of America- and the Lowell Thomas Award from The Explorers Club.
Published August 23, 2012 by sitesALIVE!. 335 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors, Travel. Non-fiction
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WSJ online

Reviewed by Angus Phillips on Jan 01 2013

Mr. Wilson takes us there and back again with openness and honesty, displaying the ocean sailor's requisites...

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