Race organisers are pleased to announce that today, Brad Van Liew confirmed his entry in the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2010-11 race. Van Liew's new ocean racing campaign targets the exciting Eco 60 Class, and constitutes the first United States entry in the race. The move represents a return to the race he famously won in 2003 as the skipper of the Class II Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America.
“This race has had a massive impact on my life over the past decade,” said the 41-year old ocean racer. “During the 1998-99 Around Alone, the predecessor to the VELUX, my family and I fell in love with Charleston, the start/finish port of the race. We subsequently made it our new home.” Van Liew explained that with his resounding victory in 2003, “I felt like I'd achieved my goals in ocean racing, and could spend my time developing the South Carolina Maritime Foundation, a truly worthy organization. But when VELUX 5 OCEANS organizers decided to return to Charleston for the 2010-11 race, it ignited a spark in me that I didn't really expect, and Meaghan and I have decided to focus on building a campaign to compete in this edition of this epic race.”
Van Liew's nascent campaign is currently named “Lazarus” and the American sailor has targeted the Eco 60 Class from the outset. “The new class provides a low-cost platform with true 'green' credentials that appeal to me personally and will also appeal to potential US sponsors,” Van Liew said. “I've quietly built a team around me over the past few months to secure the necessary funding and a boat to race competitively and safely, and while there's a huge amount of work to do over the next twelve months, I'm confident that we can cross the starting line in La Rochelle to complete this amazing journey.”
Van Liew made his name first as the skipper of Balance Bar in the 1998 edition of the race, sending in gripping daily reports of a horrific Southern Ocean storm that were read by millions. He returned in the 2002-03 race as the skipper of the colourful and patriotic Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, winning Class II convincingly while continuing a legacy of communication with the public as he won every leg of the race. Race followers of the Around Alone became addicted to Brad's reports from the far corners of the earth, and he developed significant media interest in the United States as a result of his unique and engaging writing style. Van Liew remains one of a small handful of racing sailors to be featured in stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, and LA Times as well as NBC's Nightly News. One of the most popular skippers on the ocean racing circuit, he will undoubtedly have the full support of the Charleston community as he takes on the planet's oceans in The Ultimate Solo Challenge.
“Brad Van Liew is a true legend of the VELUX 5 OCEANS race and the solo ocean racing community,” concluded VELUX 5 OCEANS Race Director David Adams. “His return is a great boost for this race, and we're grateful for the opportunity to welcome a skipper of his raw talent to the race, and also one who communicates his life at sea so well to a global audience.” Adams added that it will be “fantastic for Charleston to have a hometown hero to get behind. The stopover in South Carolina in spring 2011 will undoubtedly be a fantastic celebration. We have now announced three skippers – Derek Hatfield, Christophe Bullens and Brad Van Liew – and so far we have ten skippers entered in the race.”
VELUX 5 OCEANS – The Ultimate Solo Challenge
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the oldest single-handed round the world yacht race. Run every 4 years since 1982, the race is the longest and toughest event for any individual in any sport. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is a series of five high-pressure ocean sprints within a marathon circumnavigation. In the course of the 30,000 mile race, the skippers cross five oceans alone. The next VELUX 5 OCEANS will take place 2010-2011 and promises to reach a global audience as the dramatic stories are followed live across TV, radio, print, Internet and via mobile technology.
About The VELUX Group
VELUX creates better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof. Our product programme contains a wide range of roof windows and skylights, along with solutions for flat roofs. In addition, VELUX offers many types of decoration and sun screening, roller shutters, installation products, products for remote control and thermal solar panels for installation in roofs. VELUX, which has manufacturing companies in 10 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, is one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector and its products are sold in most parts of the world. The VELUX Group has around 10,000 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S. VKR Holding A/S is a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family.
About Brad Van Liew
Brad Van Liew has a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. His entrepreneurial spirit has seen him through successful business endeavors in aviation and sailing. As a professional sailor, Van Liew completed two solo circumnavigations, taking 3rd place as an underdog entrant in the 1998-99 Around Alone race, and claiming victory in the 2002-03 edition of that event aboard Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. He broke a world record in 2003 by covering 345 miles in one day aboard his 50-foot monohull. Van Liew has been awarded an array of honors including a US Navy Seamanship Award. Since 2004 Van Liew has devoted his time to the South Carolina Maritime Foundation as Executive Director of the non-profit's quest to build a traditional tall ship serving the state as an educational platform for students and a traveling ambassador. The Spirit of South Carolina became a reality in 2007 with a launch that garnered national media attention and has since served more than 4,000 students with hands-on education programs that focus on teamwork, leadership and responsibility. His next endeavor will be the VELUX 5 OCEANS Race 2010-11.
About Clipper Ventures Plc
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's historic solo and non-stop circumnavigation in 1970. Now, as Chairman of Clipper Ventures PLC, he is at the forefront of promoting round the world yacht racing. Clipper Ventures, the marine sports company founded in 1995, is focused on developing and promoting major events capable of attracting significant participation, income, media coverage and associated sponsorship revenue. The company owns the rights to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and the VELUX 5 OCEANS.
About La Rochelle
For 1,000 years, La Rochelle the “rebel” likes being different: democratic a long time before the rest of France, it is Protestant when the whole France is Catholic; it always innovates and disrupts commonplaces and the city becomes a pioneer as regards urban ecology. Throughout history, La Rochelle shows its difference. It has always been turned toward the sea and has a rich and turbulent past. La Rochelle remained bubbly of ideas and events. Boating and sailing races are deeply rooted in La Rochelle's culture and many events were held in this city where the French boating industry could develop its numerous assets.
Stopovers of the Volvo Ocean Race, of the Global Challenge, of the Clipper Race, start city of the Transat 6.50 Charente-Maritime/Bahia, commemoration the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Quebec, International In-water Boat Show… a multiplicity of events that ranked La Rochelle as one of the major capital of International sailing. La Rochelle still steer the course to the future!