An American in the Vendée Globe

Skipper Rich with French kids
Skipper Rich with French kids

The Embassy of the United States of America in France along with the French Ministry of national education both support the sitesALIVE! educational program and want to make a truly global education program, with a global audience, off this uniquely global event.

In November 2016, American skipper Rich Wilson will set sail in the Vendée Globe 2016: a solo, non-stop, around-the-world sailing race, departing from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Rich’s motivation in participating in such an extraordinary challenge is to excite and engage students in learning, by connecting them to live, global, real-world adventures and curriculum.

On January 2017, French students of René Cassin high school of Noisiel chatting with Rich Wilson, the only U.S. skipper of the Vendee Globe sailing race around the world and founder of the Ocean Challenge Live! education program

SitesALIVE! consists of program components that offer multiple entry points into learning alongside this exciting global adventure. The Ocean Challenge Live! website will be updated daily with fresh content, allowing educators, students, sailors, seniors, families and those with asthma to follow the voyage closely.

Skipper Wilson
Skipper Wilson

SitesALIVE! does not bill the Vendée Globe as a ‘French yacht race’, but as a ‘Live Ocean Expedition’. And as oceans become accepted as a legitimate and important topic of discussion in society (top priority for the U.S. Department of State) for fisheries depletion, marine pollution, carbon absorption, etc., even non-maritime countries saw the utility of teaching their young students about the oceans. As the Denver Post said for the sitesALIVE! very first program in 1993 when asked why they, in the mountains, had signed up for our Ocean Challenge Live! program, they said “We’re a thousand miles from the ocean. What better way could there be for our students to learn about the oceans than by connecting to a live ocean expedition.”

The French version of the program received in September 2016 the Patronage of the French Minister of national education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and French professors and educators are already signing-up to participate.

The Vendée Globe is a uniquely global event: it actually goes around the world! And what could be better than to have a student in Paris talking to a student in Buenos Aires talking to a student in Boston talking to a student in Berlin about any of the multitude of topics overflowing from a sailing voyage.