Moitessier’s Long Route…

Bernard Moitessier was perhaps the greatest sailor of the 20th century, and his exploits had a great deal to do with my obsession with sailboats for a couple decades.

He joined the Golden Globe single-handed around-the-world race in 1968, and though leading as he approached the turn north between South America and Africa, he decided that winning the race was not especially important to him, so he kept sailing on past the Cape of Good Hope, and ended up in Tahiti, after sailing 1 2/3 times around the world alone, much of it in the most dangerous sailing latitudes in the world, in the Roaring 40s, and Ferocious 50s latitudes South.  He credited yoga with his ability to handle the stress of the journey, and embarked on a long career of sailing exploits, environmental activism, and efforts for peace.  He died in 1994 near Paris.  He pioneered a method of sailing in the southern oceans that involved driving the boat as fast as possible, and surfing down the face of the waves at just the right angle to avoid being pitch-poled from the following waves.  NOT FOR ME!  I was a very cowardly sailor, but I am moved by his writings, and by this video he made underway in the giant waves of the South: