The Deep End of the Sea

Capsized in a round-the-world boat race, France's most beloved female sailor is saved by a rival

For more than 20 hours, Giovanni Soldini had pushed due south, his face stung by frigid squalls and his 60-ft. sailboat pummeled by the ferocious waves of the southern Pacific, 1,900 miles west of the tip of South America. "I'm soaked and frozen," the 32-year-old Italian wrote in a Feb. 16 e-mail to his Milan-based racing team. Desperately trying to interpret computerized weather charts, he was also troubled. He was still 18 miles from the spot where a satellite tracking system said Isabelle Autissier, 42, his French rival in the Around Alone solo global race, had capsized. "The problem is that...

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