The Journey Is Underway!
Skipper Rich Wilson Sails the Vendee Globe

Contact: Dianna Fletcher, 207.831.8148

(For Immediate Release) November 9, 2008, Les Sables d’Olonne, France: The Vendee Globe, considered the Everest of yacht sailing, is underway with one American, Rich Wilson, at the helm of an Open 60. Wilson, of Marblehead Massachusetts, is sailing the Great American III in a fleet of 30 contenders.

The navigators, from seven countries, sailed from the harbor of Les Sables d’Olonne France Sunday, heading towards the three great capes, marking the southern tips of the African continent, Australia and America. The race will end roughly three months later, back in the Les Sables d’Olonne harbor. The Vendee Globe is a solo race: the skippers must sail unassisted along the 25,000 mile race.

Wilson is the elder statesman of the skippers, bringing with him three decades of sailing records and awards.

His accomplishments include:

2004 – 2nd place, The Transat in Class 2 multihulls.
2003 – WORLD RECORD: Hong Kong — New York
Great American II vs. Clipper Sea Witch
2001 – WORLD RECORD: New York —  Melbourne
Great American II vs. Clipper Mandarin
1993 – WORLD RECORD: San Francisco — Boston
Great American II vs. Clipper Northern Light

Wilson also survived a spectacular capsize of his trimaran Great American off Cape Horn in 1990.

The Vendee Globe will be experienced by millions of American students and their families through Wilson’s sitesALIVE Foundation. SitesALIVE is sponsoring Ocean Challenge, A Global Newspaper in Education (NIE) Program.

The NIE program links NIE classrooms and readers, from 25 US newspapers  to Rich Wilson aboard Great American III via the sitesALIVE website ( Wilson will be posting daily podcasts and up-to-date tracking of the Great American III will be posted as well.

Wilson has also assembled a Team of Experts onshore to post reports as part of the Newspapers in Education experience. Topics include:  science, geography, math, history, current events, international relations, oceans, and climate change. Wilson and his experts, including Admirals, Captains, Doctors, and Museum Presidents, will write in-Paper weekly features and answer questions online.

In 1993, sitesALIVE launched the NIE program by publishing a 13 part weekly feature series written by Wilson aboard Great American II during a San Francisco to Boston world record voyage. The series was published by twelve U.S. newspapers to a weekly readership of 13 million readers.
In 2001, sitesALIVE won the Newspaper Innovators in Education Award from the Newspaper Association of America Foundation.
Newspapers participating in the  Vendee Globe 2008 Ocean Challenge include:

Arlington Heights Daily Herald           
Baltimore Sun                      
Cherokee Scout                      
Denver Post                        
Detroit News                    
Eagle-Tribune News (4 newspapers)       
Hartford Courant                    
Jackson Citizen-Patriot               
Jacksonville Daily News
Kalamazoo Gazette
Missouri NIE
Monroe Evening News
San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle Times
Skagit Valley Herald
The Chronicle Herald
The Daily Sentinel
The Flint Journal
The Free Press
The Globe
The News & Observer
The Record
The Sun Journal
Winston-Salem Journal
Worcester Telegram