The Vendee Globe website refers to a single handed race. Nick Moloney’s media guide calls it a solo race. The last edition of Around Alone featured lone sailors.
Single handed seems to be a sailing centric term. There are also double handed and short handed races. No full handed races, eh?
Solo carries more a flying connotation to me. In gaining your pilots license there is a 1st solo flight.
Lone sailor is the most appropriate term for the upcoming Vendee Globe. During the last Around Alone Tim Kent said, “I have not laid eyes on another human being since ten days before Christmas [28 days
at time of writing].” Vendee Globe sailors will be alone for 80+ days.
So, lone sailors who deal with extremes of solitude most of us don’t seems the best term to me. When asked about solitude French lone sailor Jean Pierre Dick said: “That frightens me in the sense of technical difficulties. However, today, skippers experience an assisted solitude thanks to the means of communication.” Yes, assisted solitude is eerie if you are from Michigan, but certainly the loneliness factor has decreased.
Conrad Humphreys describes particulars of this assisted solitude: “every day, though, I will speak to my wife, Vikki, and call into my shore team to exchange news & information on the satellite phone. The race organisation will call me every other day and I have regular media interviews to do from the boat, so although I am physically on my own Iíll be racking up a decent phone bill keeping in touch with the rest of the world!”
How else to stay in touch? BenoÓt Parnaudeau says, “Weíve installed a good sound system aboard and Iím bringing a fair number of CDs and also two books per week.”
Vincent Riou actually becomes a reader at sea: “At sea, I like to read while on shore, itís something I hardly ever do. I usually take onboard some books which are given to me before I leave. In that way I have the element of surprise once Iím at sea.”
During this Vendee Globe the lone sailors will be lonely. They were lonelier in the past. Never the less for a few months they maybe the loneliest folks on the planet.
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