They shattered the old record of 75 days by 14 days!! Earthrace was a vision that did not fail even though immense adversity lurked along the way and that they never obtained a major sponsor to fund the effort. People would look at the boat and begin to dream themselves. They would donate what little they had; time, money, engines, steering systems, electronics, and a toilet that never wanted to work. And they had to do this twice. The first attempt failed.
I supported the first attempt by buying a race leg that I never was able to go on. The second time around, they welcomed me to join them anywhere along the race route and I hopped aboard in Colon, Panama to transit the Panama Canal, on May 10th. “Hey, maybe I’ll join y’all for the Suez Canal!” I said back then only partially thinking it would work out. “Nevertheless, I’m hosting the victory party in Valencia”, I offered.
My timing didn’t look too good for the Suez. I had a small cool, glamorous, black tie party at the Louvre in Paris with Duran Duran playing in early June, and then back to NYC for my friend Mara’s wedding aboard the beautiful yacht “Mariner III” on June 20th. Earthrace ran over debris, lost a shaft and ran around 1600 miles to Singapore on one engine where they had no money for repairs. People looked again at the boat, and they dreamed too. Losing only 3 days, they were on their way to the Suez when they hit horrific waves in the Asian and Indian Oceans which slowed them down, amazingly, just enough that I flew from the wedding to Cairo, took a cab to Suez and after 5 hours of sleep was helping them refuel the next morning and was soon riding thru the Suez on Earthrace. We spent the night halfway through at Ismalia where we were entertained by the Admiral in charge of the canal. The next day, I hopped off at Port Said and took their picture as they raced into the Med. That was June 24th. Both canals, same boat, westerly direction, 45 days. This might be a world record itself.
The finish line was at the Vulcan Shipyard in Sagunto, Spain. Media crews were there from all over the world. We had champagne and rose wines all afternoon at the Shipyard. This was my first job, by the way, entertaining clients of a Shipyard. ADDSCO in Mobile, Alabama and Jacksonville Shipyards in Jacksonville, Florida. Great memories! The next night was the main celebration where we had a great party at the host hotel, then a bus took us to “Disco City” in Valencia to dance til morning.
As long as man has looked over the infinite vista of an ocean, he too has seen a boat and dreamed. No doubt these mariners have made note of Earthrace’s success.