Vendee Globe: Charting Conrad Colman’s epic sailing voyage

Story highlights

Vendee Globe poses 28,000-mile challenge

Conrad Colman charts life as a competitor

Sailor relishing challenge of mountainous seas

CNN —  

It’s known as the Everest of the Seas, one of the toughest events in any sport – but it rewards its competitors with fleeting moments of beauty and calm amid its succession of grueling challenges.

As the only non-stop, round the world solo sailing race, the Vendee Globe is a monumental test of endurance.

But for Conrad Colman, competing aboard his yacht Foresight Natural Energy, this 28,000-mile, 80-day marathon is the biggest buzz sport has to offer.

The New Zealand-born Colman has been charting his progress since the event began at the start of November, providing photographs of life at deck level along with stunning aerial images taken using a drone.

Read: Thomson smashes Vendee Globe records

And although the 32-year-old, who keeps a blog of his experiences, has described the event as “a solitary battle against the elements,” he wouldn’t have it any other way.

As he braces himself for stormy weather ahead in the South Atlantic 22 days into the Vendee Globe, Colman is relishing the challenge of what he calls “the main event” – tough conditions, mountainous seas, the biggest test of a sailor’s mettle.

“There is no other sporting event in the world that pitches man against the elements, solo and without support, for so long,” he writes. “I am already excited about unfurling the storm spinnaker and surfing the huge waves of the south.”

Such conditions mean a high risk of damage to boats, thwarting many competitors’ hopes of completing the race – in the seven editions since 1989, 138 sailors have started the race but only 71 have finished it.

But that doesn’t faze the unflappable Colman, who at 1030 GMT Friday was in 12th place in the race, having steered his yacht across the Equator last week.

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After all, as he puts it: “The world’s longest sporting event is just a series of little steps, repeated daily until the end. Just like life!”

Big steps, we would argue.