The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the St. Barts film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    May '04
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    CROSSING THE ATLANTIC
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    George Washington thought it was quite an accomplishment to cross the Delaware (river that is!). Of course he did it standing up in a rowboat. Something I'm not sure I'd try. And if he was doing it in a TV commercial today, the tiny print at the bottom would say "closed river, professional oarsman." And of course the Vikings, and Marco Polo, and Christopher Columbus, and all other sorts of intrepid explorers crossed the oceans in their time, even when they weren't sure they wouldn't fall off the other side, if indeed the earth was flat. Well, now that we have seen it from the window of a spaceship we are pretty sure our earth is indeed round, and that solid knowledge has surely led to the numerous transatlantic boat races that seem to end up in St Barths or on a neighboring island. Of course, what sailor in his right mind wouldn't welcome the chance to leave the freezing waters of the Northern Atlantic on the French coast and sail as fast as possible to the warm trade winds and hot sunny climes of the Caribbean. For the past few weeks, St. Barths has been a hotbed of this kind of questionable nautical activity, with the 7th edition of the bi-annual Transat ag2r pulling into the Port of Gustavia. A total of 31 identical boats each just 10.10 meters long (get out your calculators, folks, that's just 33 feet). With two people per boat for a stretch of at least 20 days with no land in sight. And a nightly prayer that the winds are favorable enough to get you to Saint-Barth before the carefully rationed food and water disappears. This year's winners are two French sailors, Armel le Cléac'h and Nicolas Troussel, aged 27 and 30, who both apparently have the same birthday. And their birthday is May 11, exactly the day they won the race. What an odd coincidence! They couldn't have planned it better if they tried. My favorites in the race were the two women who raced together for the first time: French sailor Jeanne Grégoire who teamed up with her British counterpart, Samantha Davies, creating the only 100% feminine team. From what I understand, Samantha only speaks English and Jeanne only French, which must have made for a few comical moments, but what better way to learn a new language than spend 20 days at sea in a small boat with someone you don't understand (better lost in translation than lost at sea, I always say). But even with the language barrier the women came in fifth, beating a lot of great sailors in the process. Now that's what I call an accomplishment!
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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