Imagine standing in front of a fire hose, ice cold, relentless spray, sharp as nails, unable to feel your hands and feet, enduring relentless pounding as your boat scales and slams off roller coaster sized waves, watching for icebergs in the sheer, black, with only the breaking foam spraying off the waves visible, out of the total blackness. Imagine the patience required in the dripping, stifling heat of the Doldrums, trying to eek an extra quarter knot of speed out of your boat as the huge sails slap and bang against the mast in the windless ocean, knowing that your nearest competitor has found a zephyr of breeze and is creeping ahead of you.
The skippers in the VELUX 5 Oceans race embody a unique blend of sporting, human and commercial values. There are few sports people like them – day in day out enduring the best and worst nature can through at them in their quest for victory. It is their tenacity, gritty determination, endeavour and personal drive that keeps them pushing their yachts 24/7, seeking the best route from their navigational data, repairing and maintaining their yachts “on the move” at times from 30 metres high up the mast, and snatching at the most, a couple of hours sleep in 10 minute naps each day.
These are not your usual track and field athletes, but genuine heroes and genuine characters. It takes a very unique person to undertake the challenge of the VELUX 5 Oceans – which is why those that do are very special people.
VELUX 5 Oceans skippers are fighters. The race attracts the top of the sport and the new comers to global solo yacht racing. They have fought hard to work up through their sport. They have fought hard to raise funding, prepare their boats and get to the start line. And the fight continues once the first start gun goes.
The skippers’ competitiveness afloat is juxtaposed by a special camaraderie ashore. Almost unique to the VELUX 5 Oceans Race and rarely seen in other sporting events. This spirit and shared partnership ethos extends to the sponsors and commercial partners, as the skippers line up on the port pontoons, ensuring the race provides exceptional, invaluable networking opportunities.