Recently two solo sailors rode their trimarans 750+ miles alone.
Francois Gabart and Macif set a new 24 hour sailing record of 785 miles. Colin Angus in his Sailing Row/Cruiser finished the Race to Alaska (750 miles) in 13 days. Two solo sailors crossing the same distance – using vastly different boats, courses and philosophies.
Francois strapped into his 100 foot, super-trimaran ocean-spacecraft – did his pre-flight checks, synched his computers, calibrated his navigation and weather data, signaled his support crew and let her rip across the Atlantic.
Colin strapped into his 19 foot self designed row-cruiser. Did his pre-flight checks, made sure he had fuel for his JetBoil, checked his freeze dried food supply, grabbed his oars and sail/rowed north across Juan De Fuca.
Macif is a technological marvel – a triumph of engineering and a tribute to the shared skills of the team that dreamed her and made her come to life. Francois is a supreme sailor – courageous and smart – as well as a skilled technician and engineer. To be able to rip across an ocean at 30 to 40 knots alone on a 100 foot trimaran beggars belief. It is a magnificent example of collective human ingenuity.
Colin Angus designed and built his little row/sail cruiser from stitch and glue wood for about $4500. Add in a couple of Raymarine autohelms, a jet boil and some camping gear and you have his Race to Alaska entry – a boat capable of supporting him – or you – across 750 miles of wilderness. Simpler and cheaper than Macif, Colin’s is an everyman challenge, if he can do it then maybe we can too.
We all need the inspiration that these heroic journeys provide. We look to heroes to give us examples of the courage we need to face the unknown. Colin Angus and Francois Gabart each provide different versions of the hero’s journey and for that we must thank them.