Yes, after 40 days or so, the greatest athletic challenge in the world is half over as the lead sailors plunge into near-Antarctic waters a hundred miles south of New Zealand, a drastic change from the tropical temperatures of a few weeks ago.
The Vendee Globe requires the sailors to circumnavigate the globe alone and non-stop.
Top that for a challenge of skill, courage, and endurance.
The first man to sail solo around the world was Joshua Slocum whose book on the voyage has been listed in lists for both great sailing and great zen reads. Cpt Slocum stopped along the way in his home-made boat, the immortal Spray. These sailors don't.
See link for the tracking map.
Expand the map to see just how tight the race is between the two lead sailors. Amazing.
The leader's (Francois Gabart) boat. Perfection of nautical engineering: