The old expression, “those who can’t, teach,” is no longer relevant, if it ever was at all. That’s because Rich Wilson, teacher and solo round-the-world sailor, is crashing upwind right now, having rounded the Cape of Good Hope in the Vendee Globe race.
All the while Wilson is engaging with more than 500,000 school kids in 26 countries through his website and podcasts. The race, billed as the most dangerous yacht race on the planet, means sailing 28,000 miles around the world alone, with a start and finish in Les Sables d’Olonne in Brittany, France.
When it’s all finished the fleet will have rounded the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, Cape Leeuwin in Southern Australia and the infamous Cape Horn at the tip of South America.
This year’s race set out Nov. 6. Wilson, who taught mathematics in the Boston school system, has also won the Newport to Bermuda race and holds three world sailing records. On Dec. 6, he rounded the cape and is making for Australia.
He’s in the 17th position and at 66 he’s the oldest skipper in the fleet. Of course, he’s also the only one acting as an educator as well. The students following him read his daily ships logs and listen to his podcasts on the website for his educational program SitesALIVE!
Teachers use the Ocean Challenge Live! curriculum, available for free and published in four languages, and students send questions to Wilson and his Team of Experts throughout the race.
While other teachers might dazzle their kids with goofy lessons or videos, Wilson is actually risking his life, circumnavigating the globe in a 60-foot yacht to hold their attention.
So it’s clear that those who can also teach, and as we’ve said before, the sea hates a coward.