Into the Wind

Around Alone:
The story of the world's longest race

In September of 1998, 16 skippers from a half-dozen countries set off from Charleston, South Carolina on a 27,000-mile ocean odyssey around the world – each one alone, in a boat powered only by the wind. The race, the Around Alone, was one of the oldest and most demanding of its kind. More people have flown in space than have sailed single-handed around the world.

Battling time, frigid cold, isolation and waves as tall as buildings, these skippers raced from South Carolina to South Africa, New Zealand and South America, experiencing adventures they never expected. A former Russian commando was forced to perform surgery on himself while his yacht crashed through the Atlantic. A world-famous female skipper found herself upside down in her boat in the frigid waters off Antarctica, while a wiry Italian braved furious seas to come to her rescue. Barely more than half of those 16 would finish the journey.

Tony Bartelme and Brian Hicks followed these skippers around the world, recording their stories, reliving their adventures and chronicling their nine-month test of endurance as they all attempted to make it around alone.

Velux 5 Oceans

Charleston skipper
Brad Van Liew, one of the main characters from
Into the Wind,
is sailing alone around the world again as part of the 2010-11 Velux 5 Oceans race (the new name of the Around Alone).
To read Brian's stories about Van Liew's quest, go to