Question asked by Matthias:

Hello everybody. Seeing Rich’s video, I wonder if these are buddhist prayer flags on the portside stern section? I wish you well, Matthias Steingass, Zuerich.


They are prayer flags from Nepal. A friend of mine, Scott Hamilton, gave them too me before we left at the start. Scott has been to Mt. Everest four times, three of which were for research. It would be best, and very interesting, for Scott to answer your question, because he can explain the significance of each flag. Although I am not Buddhist, I flew the flags, and will fly them again, because when a good friend gives you something of great emotional significance to them, and spiritual significance for an expeidtion like this one, one pays attention and flies the flags. I am honored to do so.


More information from Scott Hamilton:
Yes indeed what you saw in the video are Buddhist prayer flags. I gave then to Rich in Les Sables d’Olonne, France just before he started the Vendée Globe Race. I got them in Kathmandu in the Himalayan country of Nepal. They were then transported by aircraft, by foot and on yaks to the Tengboche Monastery, where they were blessed by the High Lama in a special prayer ceremony to “activate” their powers. I then carried them to Mt. Everest.

The colors each symbolize elements; yellow = earth; green = water & growing things; red = fire; white = air & wind; blue = sky. In the center is Lung-Ta, the wind horse, who symbolizes speed, health, and good fortune. On his back he carries the “wish fulfilling jewel”. The prayers printed on the flags are carried away by the winds, to be shared with all creatures on Earth. The Vendée Globe race is considered the Mt. Everest of sailing, and shares many of the same risks and challenges. Rich is my friend and I thought these flags would be good on Great American III, from one Everest to another.

Tibetan Lung-ta flag. Source:

Lung-ta flags in symbolic colors
Tibetan Lung-ta flags in symbolic colors. Source:

 Prayer flags at Mt. Everest base camp.
Prayer flags at Mt. Everest base camp. Photo credit: Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton on the trail to Mt. Everest
Scott Hamilton on the trail to Mt. Everest.
Photo credit: Scott Hamilton