Prof and the Prophets*
With a massive 859 miles lead for Michel Desjoyeaux (Jan 28 at 15:00 GMT) and the truckload of misfortune that sticks to Bilou’s wake like bimbos to a TV crew, one can’t really blame the suspense robbers for repeating that it’s all done and dusted, the score is settled, no surprise is to be expected and basically, mass is over as the saying goes ("la messe est dite" there goes your weekly French lesson – I could have thought of something more useful, but I needed the religious reference for a further transition). So sure, it looks like a done deal but whatever happened to the good old fashioned carefulness, the one that includes that tiny healthy dose of superstition so useful to maintain maritime folklore in all its glory? Did the victory prophets even think that granting the Prof an early victory could bring him bad luck, or are all traditions gone out of the porthole?
As the man himself pointed out last week, crap can happen anytime and in fact, as he revealed, "On Christmas Day, I came really close to a disaster, it was just seconds away from putting an end to the whole race. Between the 11:00 and 16:00 position reports, I was doing 6 knots when I should’ve been doing 12, but somehow no one seemed to notice (…) I’ll show you what it is when I get to Les Sables." But hey, something must be in the air because even the usually secret Michel D., who loves nothing more than controlling the info flux, finally disclosed the nature of the problem before the fat lady had even finished warming up. So, you’ve probably read it already, he almost lost the port rudder, and went as far as saying it was something of a miracle it didn’t all go tits up. He did use this word (miracle, not tits), but quickly made it clear that actually, he was an atheist – the perfect winner for a race set in the rather traditionalist Vendée, whose regional counsellor De Villiers (definitely one of the first persons who’ll be congratulating the triumphant skipper) is a fervent catholic. Not that it’s likely to cause a great fuss, the thought is just funny that’s all…
So yes, unless something really bad happens to him (after all, Michel took risks when he admitted still being an atheist after having benefited from a quasi-miracle on Christmas day – how ungrateful can you get?), the mass really seems to be over… but today, if I was Roland "Job" Jourdain (biblical reference, nothing work-related), I’d stop believing at once, provided he does, of course, which I’m not implying, because he sure didn’t deserve all the bad luck he’s had so far in his quest for the globe.
*Cool name for a band, on a side note, but then it would have to be "prophettes" for good measure.
pic by V.Curutchet/DPPI/Vendee Globe