Tuberous Hare to spend Christmas alone in the Southern Ocean.
This year Christmas is very different.
By 2020, many of us will be spreading holiday cheers, phones stuck to our ears or iPads on the table, all for the precious sound of a loved one’s voice.
The same goes for Pip Hare, although her connection with her parents is not as clear as yours, because she will talk to them from a boat in the middle of the ocean.
The hare takes part in the Vendée Globe, a one-man race that lasts three months and 24 hours and is known as the Everest of the Seas.
For them, Christmas is just another day. I’ve decided to go swimming! She laughs when people ask her how she’s gonna party. But there will be surprises.
I have an incredibly large bag of cards, letters and small gifts, and I can’t wait to open it, she says. The fact that so many people thought of me beforehand to make sure I had something on the boat is really touching.
I didn’t bring anything special on Christmas Day, but I did notice my friends sneaking in with treats.
I’ve discovered Christmas pudding, chocolate and sweets.
When Sport talks to Hare a few days before Christmas, she is 17th and about 1000 miles south of Western Australia. It is midnight where she is, there is a lot of wind, water all over the deck, and she is thrown around by a boat coming towards her.
But she’s the one with the biggest smile – she doesn’t say the same thing, but it’s obvious. The hare is 46 years old.
She says it’s my version of the Olympics. As a sports event, this is something I’ve strived for since I first read about it as a teenager.
It’s exhausting, it’s hard work, it’s scary, it’s uncomfortable, it pushes me to my absolute limits, but I’ve dreamed about this race my whole life and it’s been such a long way to get here.
Her Professional sailor for 25 years, but only started sailing independently 10 years ago.
Even Harom’s choice of words – exhausting, intimidating and unpleasant – probably underestimates the extent of what she does.
Only 71 people have ever driven a 24,000 mile race. Of the 33 skippers who participated in the 8. In November of this year, 27 remain, with British Alex Thomson and Sam Davies among those who had to withdraw.
What is perhaps very brutal in this race is the story of the Frenchman Kevin Escoffier, who was rescued on a life raft after eleven and a half hours after leaving his boat, which had broken in two when he hit a big wave.
I think the Vendée Globe is the most incredible sporting event on the planet, Hare said. All of us sailors compete 24 hours a day for three months of our lives. There’s no way out, no way to stop – it’s just something we have to do.
The boats are very powerful, we go to remote parts of the world, so you need a high degree of problem solving and autonomy, as well as the ability to sail and navigate.
Moreover, it is probably the most difficult sporting event in the world and men and women participate equally, which is unbelievable.
This race was planned for 12 years, but it was not until June 2020 that his dream came true with title sponsor Medalia.
At 20, his 60-foot boat is one of the oldest in the fleet, and he’s anything but comfortable. The hare follows a diet of frozen food and supplements and sleeps only 30 minutes at a time.
I still squeeze myself, but twice I’ve had moments when I shouted to heaven on the deck because I had had enough and couldn’t take it anymore, Hare admits.
It’s so short-lived, and I know it’s just because I’m tired – I’m like a tired toddler. As soon as I’ve slept, I’ll go back and think about it: Wow, I do.
Hare is one of the four Britons participating in the Vendée Globe regatta in 2020 and one of the two remaining in the race.
Sometimes the person closest to the rabbit is on the International Space Station. He’s lonely, but not alone – a constant stream of Whatsapp messages from friends, family and other captains keeps him company.
In a year marked by unprecedented unrest and excitement, Hare considers himself one of the lucky ones, especially when he receives the news of life in the country.
Since the beginning of the Covida 19 crisis they have drawn the line in the sand and told us that this breed is going to disappear because it is particularly adapted to the current environment – we are clearly isolated, she says.
From that position of strength, I have always been incredibly lucky that we had the confidence that this was going to happen. When you see so many athletes who have had that removed, I feel incredibly privileged.
The 17th. Hare’s second place is really unexpected given the age of his boat, but she will be halfway through the race next week.
She doesn’t like to look ahead, knowing how many thousands of miles she still has ahead of her. But sometimes, of course, she imagines the moment when she is ready and bursts with pride.
I know I did it, it happened because I was driving and I’m proud of it, but I also go to the finish line and think: 2024 – I want to do another one.
When she reaches the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, France – where the race started about three months ago – she will join the list of only six women who have finished the Vendée Globe.
No woman won it, although Dame Ellen MacArthur had a narrow escape when she finished second in 2000-2001.
The numbers are ridiculous, Hare says. Only six women have finished the race, but still there are six women competing this year. Even though Sam is officially retired, she travels around the world. So we hope that all six of us will finish the course this year.
If you do, no one will notice you’re a man or a woman, you’re just a sailor. But when you look at things from the outside, you think: Wow, I’m maybe one of only 11 women in the world who ever finished a race. It’s breathtaking.
There’s no reason why more women wouldn’t. I really hope that this year, when there are six of us, there will be female sailors looking at us and saying I’m going to do it. And whether they last 10 years or 30 years, I hope this is the beginning of what we see more and more women doing.