the great success of online sailing races

“It is the first time that I have missed the Spi Ouest France in twenty-three years, it is heartbreaking, because it is the sailing festival and the first big meeting of the season, every sailors meet at Easter in La Trinité sur mer to race ”. As a top sailor, a former participant in the Tour de France sailing, Philippe Guigné is working his brakes from his home. And he will have to wait until the last weekend in September to participate in the actual – postponed – edition of his favorite race.

But as the boss of the company publishing Virtual Regatta, the famous online sailing race game which reproduces the Spi Ouest-France on a computer, he can only be satisfied. At around 11:00 a.m. on Monday April 13, 32,000 sailors had tried their luck since the start line opened three days earlier (it closes at 1:00 p.m. Monday, 13). This participation figure is a historic record for a so-called inshore race (near the coasts), knowing that the traditional virtual offshore races (offshore), Vendée Globe or Route du Rhum, are already well established.

140,000 participants in the Great Escape

400,000 sailors on screen accompanied the last Route du Rhum (French transatlantic race) in 2018, roughly as many who toured the world in 2017 with the solo sailors from the Vendée Globe. “The offshore games attract the general public, the inshore is more technical, you really need to know the sail, the navigation rules and the precise behavior of the boats to be well represented”, said Philippe Guigné, who still has all afternoon to try to improve the 10,000th place he is confined to, unworthy of his status as a former winner on the water.

The attraction for virtual events is not new in sailing, as in most sports where strategy plays a big role, racing, tennis or football. But the context of the Covid-19 epidemic has led to an influx of new participants: professional sailors usually excluded from virtual racing for the good reason that they live them at sea. Spi Ouest-France, but even more so in the deckchair organized since March 23 and which attracts 140,000 players. It was baptized The Great Escape, name chosen as a snub to containment.

The biggest names in ocean racing, Armel Le Cléach’ and Franck Cammas, have embarked on virtual boats. Second of the pros at the finish, Franck Cammas, the winner of the 2010 Route du Rhum, enjoyed the crossing. “The game is really very close to reality but a reality which is perhaps closer to that of a router than a runner proper. JI did this very seriously. And with the exception of the first night, when I experienced an alarm clock failure, I made adjustments at night during the whole race “, he says.

Great browser and handsome player

Unlike the Spi Ouest-France, disputed on an identical boat for all participants, the Great Escape is run on the main traditional categories of ocean racing. The fastest, the large multihulls or monohulls (Ultim and Imoca), are therefore already safely in Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean where the imaginary finish line has been drawn. Part of the Class 40 (13.20 m) is also docked, but many of the Figaro 3, 9.75 m monos close to the traditional cruising sailboat, are still battling in the South Atlantic.

Surprise: in almost all categories, the winners are amateurs, who have beaten the stars of sailing, not always aware of the latest software versions. A handsome player, Franck Cammas takes his hat off to them. “The community aspect and the friendliness with the other players are very nice. I chatted a lot online with the other gamers and they even advised me. Because if we have our usual routing software, they have dedicated sites and other high performance software “, He writes on his website.

A lesson in weather, physics and geography

This blend of friendliness and rivalry that sums up the spirit of sailing racing is even stronger in virtual racing than on water. There are many exchanges of advice via the game messaging system because many of the participants have a basic culture of sailing. “It is estimated that 50% of our players have never been on a boat, notes Philippe Guigné, emphasizing the democratic aspect of his game. “Sailing, an expensive and complicated sport to practice, accessible to all”.

The newspaper West France, partner of the virtual Spinnaker on board for the same reasons. “In racing, we also do weather, geography, physics, so we are in our educational role”, underlines Renaud Pelard, deputy chief editor of sports at the Breton daily newspaper, who takes over the race and publishes the results on his website.


Shopping, eating: the right steps to protect yourself from coronavirus

1 / How to shop?

When shopping, keep a distance of at least one meter from those present. It is also advisable totake your bags rather than using store carts and baskets to avoid contact with potentially infected material. The wearing gloves should be avoided unless they are for single use. It is best to use hydroalcoholic gel and wash your hands thoroughly when you get home.

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: France enters its 16th day of confinement

Favor the contactless payment when we can even if “The risk of being infected with Covid-19 by touching coins, banknotes or credit cards is very low”, assures the ministry of health which passes on the opinion of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Two reminders: only proximity trips are allowed and the best is to go shopping alone or in pairs.

→ MAINTENANCE. Rony Brauman, former MSF president: “The ordinary is getting extraordinary”

2 / Can we contract Covid-19 on contact with contaminated surfaces?

Some studies have demonstrated according to ANSES that the virus remains active more or less long on inert surfaces. “It survives up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel. It remains detectable for 24 hours on cardboard », specifies this institution.

Information confirmed by WHO: “Covid-19 seems to behave like other coronaviruses which survive on inert surfaces from a few hours to several days according to studies. This duration varies according to the surface conditions, the temperature, the humidity of the environment. “

“The risk of being in contact with the virus by handling objects that have been contaminated by a carrier, is therefore not excluded, but it is low”, continues this health agency. Consequently, it is important to respect certain rules: do not touch your face during your shopping, and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

It is also advisable to store his races two or three hours without touching them after bringing them home except when it comes to products to be stored in the refrigerator.

3 / Do the hygiene rules also relate to packaging?

The packaging may have been contaminated by dirty hands. “You have to clean with a damp cloth or disposable paper towel. There is no need to use bleach “, details ANSES. For fresh produce, it is necessary remove the packaging before storing it and this wash your hands before and after handling the packaging.

→ EXPLANATION. Coronavirus: the map of the world spread

4 / How to remove the virus from fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed and rubbed before consumption. “Clear water is enough, do not use any disinfectant or detergent like bleach”, adds the health agency. The use of white vinegar is ineffective in fighting the virus. Cooking at 60 ° C for four minutes destroys the virus. No need to cook food too long.

5 / Can eating a contaminated food make us sick?

“There is no scientific data to suggest that the virus can contaminate the digestive tract, continues ANSES. However, the possibility of infecting the respiratory tract when chewing a contaminated food cannot be excluded. “. In any case, if you are sick, you should not handle food or cook for others.


shopping with a mask is useless

France has therefore entered a new era: that of citizens who are confined but also, sometimes, masked as soon as they step outside. Since Monday March 16, everyone, while doing their shopping, has been able to meet people wearing a surgical mask.

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: 4th day of total containment in France, all the info

“It is absolutely useless. It might just be useful if a coronavirus patient sneezes on you within three feet. But if everyone respects the barrier measures of a meter away, there is no need for a mask to do their shopping! “protested Professor Didier Lepelletier, president of the scientific council of the French Society of Hospital Hygiene. A body that advises the Ministry of Health on this crucial issue.

“Large infectious particles that will fall to the ground

It’s important to remember that the Covid-19 virus doesn’t stay in the air. “A patient, who coughs or sneezes, will emit large infectious particles which, by the law of gravity, will fall to the ground”, specifies Professor Lepelletier. This doctor wants to reassure all those who fear being infected by entering a closed space where a patient may have passed.

→ PRACTICE Containment: why we should not use digital certificates

But wearing a mask is of course essential for a doctor or nurse who, on a daily basis, approaches patients closely. According to Professor Lepelletier, in the vast majority of cases, wearing a simple surgical mask is enough.

FFP2 masks, the existence of which the general public has discovered in recent days, are indeed indicated for invasive medical procedures, in the ENT or respiratory sphere. “These FFP2 masks are more protective than surgical masks but they must be used for acts that cause coughing and which are carried out while being really close to the patient: for example when one is intubating or respiratory physiotherapy for decluttering”, he explains.

A stock of 110 million surgical masks.

Precision is important. For the past few days, many doctors or nurses in town have been waiting with some excitement for the FFP2 masks promised to them by the Ministry of Health. However, for the vast majority of their actions, such as auscultating a patient, a simple surgical mask is enough to protect them.

“As we do not know if, in the long term, we will have enough FFP2 masks, we must reserve them for caregivers who make very invasive gestures”, further explains the doctor, who does not understand the policy of some hospitals, which consists of issuing masks, surgical ones, to all staff. “Officers who are not in contact with patients have no reason to wear a mask, even if they work in a hospital”, he believes.

To face the crisis, the State decided to requisition all the stocks of masks in France as well as all those which leave the factories. On Tuesday March 18 on France Inter, Olivier Véran said that the state had a stock of 110 million surgical masks. “We buy it everywhere, we make it everywhere”, said the Minister of Health.


Atomic Veterans of America – NBC Connecticut

The enemy Hank Bolden
faced did not come from a distant front line.

It came from the skies.

It’s a battle that’s still going on 65 years later. Bolden, who is now 82 years old, is an atomic veteran – one of hundreds of thousands of American service members used in human testing by the United States government during post-WWII nuclear tests and sworn to a secret life.

“They wanted to see how the living soldiers would resist the exposure
to radiation, ”recalls Bolden. “Before using live soldiers they were using
mannequins. But you don’t get real results using mannequins as you would
live bodies. “


While accompanying a friend to a New Haven recruiting station in 1953, Bolden was invited to join the army. At just 16 years old then and already out of high school, he admits that he “pulled down” his birth certificate to move to the age of 18, joining the approximately 200,000 underage soldiers who would have served during the Second World War and the eras of the Korean War.

After basic training in
Fort Dix was assigned to work as a tank mechanic in Texas before moving to Texas
California and becoming a surface-to-air missile mechanic.

Despite an executive order issued in July
26, 1948, by President Harry S. Truman to desegregate the armed forces, the last one
the all black units of the army were not abolished until 1954. And in 1955, Bolden
he says, racist attitudes persist even after the units have been racially integrated.

“The residual thoughts of people were firm
linger, “he says.” My outfit was 800 people strong. Thirteen of us were
black. Ten were from the South, who were more tolerant of treatment
they got racially. But the three of us from the North couldn’t tolerate it,
so I have had many fights over this. So I was the guy they wanted
get rid of.”

It would not be the only race
discrimination Bolden would witness as a soldier.


In 1955, the seventeen year old
he was suddenly ordered to the Nevada desert without explanation.

“They don’t tell you what you’re going to face,” he said. “Nobody
they knew what they were going to face. ”

What he would eventually face was a classified operation known as Operation Teapot at the Nevada Test Site. In a series of 14 bomb throws, or “hits”, military officials tried to test the effects of nuclear bombs on structures and strategies, animals and people.

All races of military personnel
participated in the Teapot operation. But upon arrival in Nevada, Bolden was
astounded to accomplish all the other soldiers in his new specially selected unit
for a mysterious assignment they were also black.

“There was this myth about black people
be able to resist, tolerate certain things more than any other race “, he
He says. “So it was a test on that too.”


One morning in February, Bolden
the unit was ordered in a desert trench. Unbeknownst to them, it was excavated
the expected route of the fallout, only 2.8 miles away from what it would have become
ground zero for the launch of an atomic bomb.

Even though a countdown sounded on the speakers, Bolden says, the soldiers still had no idea what they were about to face. Without protective gear in addition to the normal fabrics and helmets, they waited and looked.

“They tell you to cover your eyes”
he says.

On February 18, 1955, Shot Wasp, the first nuclear test of Operation Teapot, detonated a Mark 6 nuclear bomb dropped by a B-36 exactly at noon. A monstrous cloud of mushrooms filled the sky, reaching 21,500 feet in height.

“With radiation, when you put your arms over your eyes or hands, you actually see the bones, you see the bones in your body from the exposure. You can see your skeleton. “

After the relapse the warning came.

“You swore not to speak
“said Bolden. The soldiers were threatened with imprisonment and fines for violation
The oath.

For 60 years, Bolden didn’t tell anyone. No this
family, not his wife, not his children. Not even her doctors when she spies on her
tumors have started to show. He developed bladder and posterior subcapsular cancer
cataract and in 1990 multiple myeloma was diagnosed.

“They actually gave me three and a half years
four years to live, ”recalls Bolden.
So in 1995 I should have been a statistic. “

But in 1995, Bolden was in remission. He is a citizen
the secret was coming to light.


Government figures estimate between 400,000 and 550,000 US military personnel who participated in a series of nuclear tests between 1946 and 1992. According to the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, this includes post occupation forces -Second World War of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, prisoners of war in Japan at the end of the Second World War, participants in the atmospheric nuclear tests in Nevada and the Pacific from 1945 to 1962 and participants in the underground nuclear tests in Nevada from 1951 to 1992.

Many of these “atomic veterans” have succumbed before their own
the stories have become public, their bodies are full of tumors. In
1990, the veil of secrecy began to lift.

After setting up the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments to investigate 10-year experiments, President Clinton made a formal apology to American atomic veterans on October 3, 1995. By order of the president, Congress would repeal the nuclear radiation agreement law. and secrecy, allowing atomic veterans to talk about their experiences without fear of fines or treason charges. And financial compensation has been opened to all qualified atomic veterans.

“Those who led the government when these decisions were made are no longer here to take responsibility for what they have done. They are not here to apologize to survivors, family members or their communities whose lives have been overshadowed by shadow of these choices So today, on behalf of another generation of American leaders and another generation of American citizens, the United States of America offers sincere apologies to those of our citizens who have undergone these experiments. the government is wrong, we have a moral responsibility to admit it, “said President Bill Clinton on October 3, 1995

But the television address has been obscured. The same happened
day when OJ Simpson’s verdict was issued in a live classroom feed, taking
on televisions and news cycles across America.

As a result, many skilled veterans had no idea of ​​the ban
the secrecy had been lifted, nor that they could claim benefits. Bolden no
find out until he researched the Internet, he says, in 2015.

“I was once so angry and so aggravating with the government that I thought I would be murdered to keep me from talking,” he says.

When Bolden attempted to apply for subsidies, he found that the burden of proof was placed on his fellow atomic veterans. The government would give compensation from the date a complaint was filed, but not retroactively, and only if the veteran could prove that he had participated in the tests – which proved to be an almost impossible task after millions of military documents were destroyed in a 1973 fire against the National Staff Registration Center. As many as 18 million documents were burned, including 80% of all army personnel discharged between 1912 and 1960.

“They hoped for it
would have died sooner or would have been one of those guys who surrendered ”
says Anthony Bolden, Hank’s son. “No thanks. Hank doesn’t have it.”

After paying her
own pocket for a polygraph lie detector pouch, Hank eventually claimed
approved, setting a precedent for other atomic veterans whose records were

Photo: Hidden story: the atomic veterans of America

Hit a high note

“The love of music has
I’ve always been there. “

After his honorable discharge
from the army, Bolden went to work as an engineer before deciding to pursue a
career as a jazz musician who works while his family grows. Tell the story
while cradling the tenor saxophone that has been at his side since 1967. The “Rolls
Royce “of tools, he says.

The brand is Selmer. IS
in a strange coincidence, the model is a 6 sign. It is the same name as the shot
Wasp atomic bomb design.

But this is where the
the similarities end. The bomb was his nightmare. Music, his dream and his
outlet to work through the trauma of what lived in Nevada

“It’s like the blood inside
my veins. It takes away all my other thoughts, “he says

Bolden is finally
he receives compensation from the government and is now using it to help make his dream come true.
He returned to school, studying jazz performances at Hartt University of Hartford

“They are like the relic
here with all these kids, you know, “he chuckles.

Professor Javon Jackson
says that the 82-year-old is leaving a unique mark on the prestigious program.

“He has a lot of emotion,” says Jackson. “He is a very bluesy, very full of feeling, a natural player. His life, wisdom and the things he has acquired allow him to play the way it sounds.”


The vast majority of
Today, the American atomic veterans of the atmospheric test era are gone. About
400,000 veterans were present during these tests, according to the veterans
Administration. Survivors’ numbers vary, from around 10,000 to 80,000
still alive.

Bolden believes he is one of only two surviving African American atomic veterans who are recognized and receive compensation from the government. He is on a mission to reach as many survivors as possible and help them request the long-awaited recognition and compensation.

And he’s sharing his story, he says, to make sure the plight of American atomic veterans is no longer ignored.

“When people like me pass by, this won’t be part of the story unless someone makes sure it’s kept alive.”