The Everest of the Seas: Could you handle the toughest race in sport?

Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT) November 4, 2016
Vendee Globe start 2012 sunsetVendee Globe start 2012 sunset
1 of 12
The Vendee Globe is a non-stop, solo, 28,000 mile race around the world's three southern capes. With the risk of heavy storms, colossal waves and potential damage to boats, competitors have only a 50% chance of finishing. Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame/DPPI/VENDEE GLOBE
In the seven editions since 1989, 138 sailors have started the race, but only 71 have finished. Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/VENDEE GLOBE
Frenchman Francois Gabart won the last Vendee Globe at just 29 years old, becoming its youngest champion. His finish time of 78 days and two hours set a new race record. Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/VENDEE GLOBE
Fellow Frenchman Armel le Cleac'h finished just two hours behind him after 78 days of racing -- the narrowest margin of victory in the Vendee Globe's history. Olivier Blanchet/DPPI/VENDEE GLOBE
Known as 'the Everest of the Seas', the marathon race sets sail from Les Sables d'Olonne on France's western coast. Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/DPPI/Vendee Globe
Competitors race in powerful Imoca Open 60 yachts. Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame/DPPI/Vendee Globe
British sailor Alex Thompson came third in 2013, finishing in 80 days and 19 hours. After damage to his boat forced him to pull out in both 2004 and 2008, this year's race will be his fourth attempt. Mark Lloyd/DPPI/VENDEE GLOBE
The winner of the last edition, Francois Gabart, sails into the harbor to finish after 78 days -- a new race record. Olivier Blanchet/DPPI/VENDEE GLOBEI
At 66, US skipper Rich Wilson is the race's oldest competitor. B.Gergaud/Courtesy
He described it as "the greatest sailboat race in the world bar none."
Vincent Curutchet/Dark Frame//DPPI/VENDEE GLOBE
Attempting the endurance race for the second time, Wilson is used to spending long periods alone at sea. "There's a difference between loneliness and solitude. The loneliness part isn't so bad because with satellite telephones you can talk to anyone, any time any place." Courtesy
"The part that's hard is that if something goes wrong, there's no one there to help you fix it," said Wilson. Courtesy