As you read this, the latest Vendée Globe winner is expected to finish the 80-day nonstop race around the world sometime tomorrow. Three sailors are vying for first place, and for the first time, the time differences could be decided in minutes, rather than hours or days. A record 33 competitors left Les Sables d’Olonne, France, on November 8 of last year to tackle this singularly grueling and dangerous contest: a 24,300-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe through some of the world’s most dangerous waters. It has been an unforgiving, months-long sprint with no help allowed; many boats broke or even sank, often hundreds of miles from help. Here’s a look at the race, just 24 hours from completion, known as the Everest of the seas.
By Michael Verdon