Rich Wilson

Great American IV

Haut diplômé de mathématiques à Harvard et de science interdisciplinaire au MIT, Rich Wilson est un homme brillant qui exerce des métiers variés : professeur de mathématiques à Boston, analyste défense à Washington ou encore consultant désalinisation en Arabie Saoudite – entre autres. Bref, une pointure. Rich Wilson est également un navigateur émérite qui s’est fait connaître en 1980 en remportant l’épreuve Newport-Les Bermudes.

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66 years old - UNITED-STATES

With a degree in mathematics from Harvard and in sciences from MIT (Massachussetts Institute of Technology) in Boston, his home town, Rich Wilson is a brilliant man, who has had numerous occupations: a maths teacher in Boston, defence analyst in Washington and consultant for a desalination plant in Saudi Arabia among others. In short, a brain. Rich Wilson is also a successful sailor, who became known back in 1980 when he won the Newport- Bermuda Race. In 1990, he decided to use sailing as an educational tool teaching children. When he attempted to smash the San Francisco-Boston record sailing double-handed aboard Great American, a 60-foot trimaran, he capsized off Cape Horn before being rescued by a cargo vessel. This episode which clearly left its mark was followed by many schoolchildren. Rich Wilson gave it another go on the same course three years later. The second attempt was successful as he was followed by 300,000 children in the United States, but also by millions of adults as his articles were taken up in many leading newspapers. Aboard Great American II, he set two new records between New York and Melbourne, and Hong Kong-New York, and finished second in the Transatlantic Race in 2004.

At the age of 58, he was the oldest competitor in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe. Aboard an older boat, launched ten years before the race, he fought hard to overcome the gales and some serious damage. He reached les Sables d’Olonne after 121 days of sailing, once again having shared his race experience with as many people as he could. If he is returning in 2016, it is to be faster, but also to develop his educational programmes. Convinced of the usefulness of sailing as a tool to convey positive values to youngsters, Rich Wilson will spread the word in the United States and around the world. He hopes too that by competing, he can contribute to publicising the solo round the world race in the States, in order to see more American competitors lining up in the future. So, Rich Wilson is an incredible ambassador for the Vendée Globe. He will be 66 and the oldest competitor in the race this year.

Lire la suite


  • New York – Les Bermudes – Winner
  • Record San Francisco – Boston
  • Record New York – Melbourne
  • Record Hong Kong – New York
  • The Transat – 2nd (Multi Classe 2)
  • Vendée Globe – 9th
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Monocoque IMOCA

IMOCA60 Great American IV

As in 2008/2009, Rich Wilson will be lining up at the start of the Vendée Globe aboard a boat which is almost ten years old. Great American IV is an Owen Clarke designed boat from 2006 aboard which Dominique Wavre took part twice in the Vendée Globe (retired in 2008/2009, 7th in 2012/2013). This 60-foot IMOCA has clocked up an impressive number of miles. She has taken part in two Barcelona World Races, the double-handed round the world race and one Route du Rhum. Bought by Rich Wilson in 2013, the boat underwent an important refit in late 2014-early 2015 after being struck by lightning… For his second Vendée Globe, the American skipper has a boat which has shown herself to be reliable and has the potential to enable him to improve on his race time of 121 days set in 2009. Aboard this very same boat, Dominique Wavre completed the race in 90 days in 2013.

Technical Sheet


Technical Sheet

Boat's previous names : Temenos II (2006), Mirabaud (2012)
Designer : Owen Clarke Design
Boat Builder : Southern Ocean Marine (Nouvelle-Zélande)
Launch date : 01 september 2006
Length : 18,28 m
Beam : 5,50 m
Draught : 4,50 m
Displacement (weight) : 8,5 tonnes
Mast heigh : 28 m
Upwind sail area : 330 m2
Downwind sail area : 600 m2