A 66-year-old Boston sailor completed a solo trip around the world on Tuesday as part of the Vendée Globe, a nonstop sailing race that sets off from France every four years.
Rich Wilson, the oldest skipper in the race, finished 13th out of 29 after sailing for 107 days and 48 minutes.
Wilson covered more than 27,000 miles in his almost 10-year-old boat, which he named Great American IV.
“What is fantastic about this race is the support of the public with all the people here,” Wilson said in a release from Vendée Globe. “I remember the first time, someone said, ‘if you finish the race, you’re a winner.’ I think that is correct.”
This is Wilson’s second time completing the Vendée Globe. He was the only American in the race this year, and is now the fastest American to race solo nonstop around the world, beating the 2004-5 record by Bruce Schwab of 109 days 19 hours, according to Vendée Globe.
Wilson holds degrees from Harvard and MIT. Along with being a lifelong mariner, he has been a math teacher in Boston, a defense analyst in Washington and a consultant for a desalination plant in Saudi Arabia.
Vendée Globe said in a statement that Wilson and his boat arrived back in Les Sables d’Olonne, a seaside town in western France from where the race departs, in “almost exactly the same, near perfect condition as they left in early November.”
“Wilson crossed the finish line on a cool February afternoon, emerging from the grey skies of the Bay of Biscay, with scarcely a rope out of place," the statement said. "To finish two Vendée Globe races with both of his boats in great condition is testament to his impeccable seamanship."