The Slowest Vendee Globe Ever. Conrad Colman
Normally cruising up to 35 knots, the IMOCA 60 is a remarkable ocean racing machine. Designed to be sailed by one person, they’re fast, hardy and being one-design, a true test of a sailors skill.
This years Vendee Globe was the first where hydrofoils were used, lifting the boats hull partially out of the water and greatly increasing their speed, but nobody imagined that the slowest boat in the race would be making all the headlines.
It’s almost a month after the leaders crossed the line, but Kiwi sailor Conrad Colman is just starting to pack up his boat, after refusing to quit when he lost his mast in the last leg of the race. Not only was he the youngest competitor, he endured the most, and when you dig deeper into what happened, his story truly is remarkable.
Consider the circumstances, your mast snaps in the dead of night, taking out communications and leaving you stranded in the middle of the ocean. Most people would be in a LOT of trouble.
On his own, Conrad dragged the rig and the waterlogged sails on board, and throughout the next few days began fixing it all. He repaired a section of the mast, Just high enough for the storm jib to work with. He re-stepped the mast and somehow managed to raise it on his own. The sails that he’d dragged over the rails (by himself), were cut down and re-sewn to size. The communications were eventually restored, and finally. He continued the race.
An incredible show of ingenuity and talent from a young sailor in one of the most demanding races on earth. Stay tuned to hear more from Conrad about what it took to keep going…