A former Royal Marine, Pete has been in and out of the headlines since the late 80s, when he sailed a tiny 26-foot catamaran across the Atlantic to take second in class against many bigger boats.
But it was in 1996 that he really hit the news big time when he was competing in the Vendee Globe single-handed around-the-world yacht race and famously turned around to go and rescue a fellow competitor – and a Frenchman at that – who had had to abandon ship in the Southern Ocean – a place you really don’t want to be bobbing around in a liferaft.
Pete is a serial adventurer, who modestly describes himself as not having a career, but rather a series of daft ideas, that he then makes happen.
When is a daft idea not a daft idea?
When you make it happen.
And while riffing on this theme, I should emphasise that as per usual this blog post solely represents the views of the blogger (that’s me) and in no way represents the views of our distinguished guest.
“If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” (Albert Einstein)
Where would the history of human endeavour be without a long and distinguished history of daft ideas? Put yourself in the shoes of the first person to wonder:
“Would the liquid that comes out of a cow’s udder be good to drink?”
“I’m going to roll up some dried leaves in a piece of paper and set it on fire and put it in my mouth.” (I love this hilarious classic comedy sketch – Bob Newhart on Nutty Walt, aka Sir Walter Raleigh.)
“I’m going to show this person that I love them by swapping spit with them.” (Yes, I know it’s to check out their pheromones, but it’s still pretty odd when you think about it. And let’s not even talk about sex.)
And in a more adventurous vein….
“So I’m going to get in this ship and set out towards the sunset with no maps and no GPS and just keep going until I bump into land. Surely I’ll run into something sooner or later.”
“There’s this really inhospitable, freezing cold place at the top/bottom of the world, with nothing there except lots of ice and snow. I want to go there.”
“There’s an incredibly dangerous mountain/river/ocean with incredibly high odds that I’ll never make it back alive. Hell, yeah!”
And then some things just really are daft….
– making “disposable” items out of indestructible plastic
– working ourselves into an early grave to acquire stuff that we don’t need
– loving stuff and using people, instead of using stuff and loving people.
So what differentiates good “daft” from just daft “daft”? How about this?
Do-able, yet challenging
Advancing human knowledge and understanding
For a greater purpose
Torturously (almost inevitably)
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” (T. S. Eliot)
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2:40 Winning the lottery of life – hearing about Pete’s parents
4:50 Training a team for the British Steel Challenge
10:45 Choosing the team according to the goal
13:45 A series of daft ideas
16:00 Saving Raphael Dinelli’s life in the Vendee Globe
21:40 A proposal at sea
23:15 Team Philips, and losing the world’s biggest catamaran – oops!
30:40 The Spirit of Mystery
35:00 The definition of adventure is that it has an unknown outcome – but how to reconcile this with family life?
39:40 Paying it forward – Pete’s children also winning the lottery of life!