Sailing on the high seas around the world

Published 8:11 AM ET, Thu December 12, 2013
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French skipper Thomas Coville is the latest yachtsman trying to tackle the round-the-world solo record in his trimaran Sodebo. Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race via Getty Images
In February 2009, Michel Desjoyeaux became the first -- and still only -- man to twice win the Vendee Globe, considered by many the pinnacle of ocean racing. MARCEL MOCHET/AFP/Getty Images
The world's leading yachtsmen marvel at the often glorious skyline on their various solo voyages -- here the sun sets on British skipper Alex Thomson. OLIVIER BLANCHET/AFP/Getty Images
Sailors are left to spend months at sea on their own with only satellite phones and the occasional helicopter flying overhead to keep them company. Allsport UK/ALLSPORT
The end of each voyage is traditionally met by huge fanfare with tens of thousands of spectators. Here Francis Joyon celebrates his record of 57 days for circumnavigating the globe. JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Robin Knox-Johnston was the first man to perform a singlehanded nonstop circumnavigation of the globe, in 1968. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
In 2007, nearly four decades after his last circumnavigation and aged 68, Knox-Johnston once again sailed solo around the world in the VELUX 5 Oceans Race, being the oldest to ever enter the event. RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
Not all voyages, however, have gone to plan. Desjoyeaux's latest trip in the Transat Jacques Vabre ended up with him dismasting just 140 miles (260 kilometers) from the finish. FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
Steve White (second from right) with other Brits in the 2008-09 Vendee Globe and Knox-Johnston (second from left). White faced a battle just to fund his entry but finished a creditable eighth. MARCEL MOCHET/AFP/Getty Images