Celebrating the future of Solo Sailing in the USA
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston visits Charleston and meets the next generation of North American solo sailors aspiring to take on The Ultimate Solo Challenge
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, along with the race management team and VELUX representatives, today completed a four day visit of the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina, the North American host port for the next edition of the VELUX 5 OCEANS. The trip, designed to build awareness of The Ultimate Solo Challenge, also saw the Pioneer of solo ocean racing meet with a number of skippers from the United States, all of whom are working tirelessly to make the start line of the VELUX 5 OCEANS in La Rochelle on October 17, 2010.
Charleston: The ideal host port
Excitement is building in Charleston over the return of the VELUX 5 OCEANS and the team began exploring plans for the stopover ahead of May 2011 when the race rolls into town. The city, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, twice hosted the classic solo race around the world as the start-finish port in 1994 and 1998, under the auspices of 'Around Alone'. A positive legacy of the race still remains embedded within the memories of the people of Charleston, who remember the event and skippers with great fondness. The stopover management team is led by local hero and race veteran Brad van Liew, winner of the 50ft class in the 2002 race, and through his efforts the interest in the return of the event is escalating around the city and support is building throughout the community.
Speaking at a presentation to regional media and dignitaries, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston commented, "Charleston was our number one target in North America to host the VELUX 5 OCEANS. Not only do we have a fantastic legacy here from the 1990s, but the facilities, infrastructure and venues are world class and ideally suited to welcoming our event. We are delighted that Brad van Liew, a celebrated veteran of the race, will be leading the efforts to create a high impact stopover that exceeds the expectations of all our stakeholders- we know he will deliver an excellent platform for all the race sponsors, partners and skippers. With VELUX having their base of operations in the Carolinas, we know that we can bring the VELUX 5 OCEANS back to the forefront of ocean racing in the United States with Charleston’s support."
Skippers: internationally diverse fleet
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and the team also met with a number of North American solo sailors, all striving to take part in the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2010-11. The skippers, each of whom is seeking sponsorship to take on The Ultimate Solo Challenge, received advice and motivation from the Pioneer of solo ocean racing, speaking from his 40 year experience.
Sir Robin concluded, "The VELUX 5 OCEANS has always embraced skippers from North America and for 2010 this will be no different. It was a real pleasure to meet with a number of skippers who are working every day to get closer to their dream of crossing the start line in La Rochelle in October 2010. As a race management team, we are always looking to support any skipper with a real drive and desire to compete, and we will help wherever we can. I feel confident that we will see an American competitor for the next edition and this will only help to enhance the impact of our stopover in Charleston."