13 Feb Moxie Marlinspike
Bernard Moitessier, a French sailing mystic, also entered the 1968 Golden Globe Race. After seven months at sea, he was the frontrunner and expected to win. France was ready to receive a national hero. A fleet of French yachts was marshalling to escort him back across the English Channel from the finish line where he would be awarded the Legion of Honor. Moitessier was not happy with the prospect, though. He wrote in his log book: “…leaving from Plymouth to return to Plymouth feels like leaving from nowhere to return to nowhere.” He didn’t have a radio, but he’d report his position by slingshotting film canisters with notes in them to passing ships, who would then radio in his messages.
After crossing under Cape Horn, Moitessier hurled a note onto a passing ship which read: “My intention is to continue the voyage, still nonstop, toward the Pacific islands, where there is plenty of sun and more peace than in Europe. Please do not think that I am trying to break a record. ‘Record’ is a very stupid word at sea. I am continuing nonstop because I am happy at sea, and perhaps because I want to save my soul.”
He was essentially saying, “Fuck you people. Fuck your newspapers, your races and your prizes. And so he just… kept sailing around the world. He later wrote: “I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth. A nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea.”
He lived out the rest of his life as a citizen of the sea.