This week in 1996, a British sailor competing in a race around the world decided that winning the race wasn’t as important as helping a fellow sailor who was in trouble.

Pete Goss was taking part in the Vendée Globe yacht race.

It’s named for the spot in France where it starts and ends (“globe,” of course, because it’s a race all the way around the planet).

The winner in the 1996 race took 105 days to finish, so it’s not quick and it’s not easy.

But some of the people who enter go all in.

Goss had actually sold his house to compete; he was tens of thousands of pounds in debt at the time, too.

But he was racing, and doing ok; at this point he was seventh out of 14 competitors.

That’s when he got word that someone aboard one of the other boats had sent a Mayday signal.

The captain of the ship, French sailor Raphael Dinelli, had pushed a button that all the ships had, a button that was only ever used when someone was in extreme danger.

Dinelli’s ship had started to sink after running into a storm in the Southern Ocean.

A plane from the Australian Air Force dropped off a life raft, but it couldn’t make a rescue.

Goss’s ship was the closest one nearby, so he decided to find Dinelli.

It took 160 miles of sailing into heavy winds, but he found the life raft, got Dinelli on board and helped him get back to health as best as he could.

They had only met briefly before the race, but they quickly bonded, over their shared love of sailing, their families, and of course the rescue.

Goss would receive award after award for helping Dinelli, including the French Legion of Honor.

And he actually got back into the race and finished!

No surprise that Dinelli was there to greet him at the finish with a bottle of champagne.

If you’re looking for some fascinating reading as we get to the end of the year, here’s one for you.

Julia Skinner wrote a piece on Atlanta Magazine about her experience with gustatory synesthesia.

Essentially it feels like she can taste what she sees, and her situation is especially unusual because she’s a food writer.


Rival sails to rescue sinking sailor (Irish Times)

What it’s like to be a food writer when you can taste everything you see (Atlanta Magazine)

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Photo by Elizabeth Donoghue via Flickr/Creative Commons