Singlehanded offshore racing

Ed Gorman explains why this is his favourite form of yacht racing
"Michel passe le Cap Horn" Like many who work daily on a computer, I regularly go through my various filing cabinets and chuck out all the stuff I've seen, read and can now do without. The other day I was doing exactly this when I came across an e-mail from a friend in France dated 12th January, 2001. I was just about to press the 'delete' button when I remembered what this was. "FW: Michel passe le Cap Horn: photo!" read the title. That's right, it's that amazing picture of Michel Desjoyeaux passing Cape Horn in PRB during the last Vendee Globe, just a month or so before he made it back to Les Sables d'Olonne to capture the Vendee at his first attempt. "Bonjour," read the first attachment. "Michel a passe le Cap Horn a 19h07 heure francaise. Il a immortalise l'instant...." Given the many more famous images of single-handers on the oceans - for example the paintings of Suhali running before massive seas off Cape Horn in 1969, or the pictures Pete Goss took from on board Aqua Quorum in the Southern Ocean while on his way to rescue Raphael Dinelli in 1997 - you may wonder why this one should seem so special. In many ways it is a rather unremarkable shot. There are no huge seas, Michel is not about to die and nor is he dangling 80ft in the air from a halyard. In fact he could just as easily be out for a cruise off the Brittany coast on a drizzly day with light winds causing the odd white horse here and there. No, what I like about the picture is the way it captures so much - in its under-stated way - that makes single-handed ocean racing great. Michel is alone on his boat just a