Record breaking Japanese sailing hero Kojiro Shiraishi today confirmed his entry in the VELUX 5 OCEANS, the Ultimate Solo Challenge. This is the second time Koji has entered the historical round the world yacht race, having finished fourth in the 2002-2003 edition in Class 2 on board his 40ft Spirit of Yukoh. In the upcoming edition of this classic event, he will compete against the world’s best in the Open 60 Class with ex-Temenos I. With sponsor funding already in place and race preparations well underway, Koji is sure to be a strong contender for the overall title and remain a hero in Japan.
Kojiro, 38, will line up at the start of the VELUX 5 OCEANS in Bilbao on October 22 in the Finot-designed boat that previously finished 4th in the Vendée Globe 2004 and 7th in the TJV 2003. Speaking from Tokyo, he commented “I’m extremely excited to be competing in the VELUX 5 OCEANS and have a real attachment to this historical race. Having competed in the last race I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Although this will be my third solo circumnavigation, it will be my first in the super fast Open 60 class, and I’m hopeful that the step up to these premier yachts will increase my chances of a podium finish.
“In terms of preparations, we are in a fantastic position. I am really happy to have secured such a high class boat in Temenos I. We have already begun work to enhance its potential with the support of my committed sponsors NIWS, TEIKEI WORKS and HAKKAI SAN, so we have high expectations.”
Kojiro has been working hard on his campaign over the last 12 months. He secured major sponsorship agreements from three Japanese companies. NIWS, a supplier of integrated hardware and software services and solutions, TEIKEI WORKS, a recruitment and temporary staffing service, and HAKKAI SAN, the famous Japanese sake maker.
Speaking from race headquarters, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman of Clipper Ventures added, “I am delighted that we can welcome back such an amazing sailor as Kojiro. During the last race he won over everyone who met him with his kindness, humour and generous character. He brings so much to this race beyond his brilliant sailing ability, but armed with this fast boat, he will pose a big threat to the top names.”
Born in Tokyo Japan, Kojiro has enjoyed an illustrious sailing career to date. At the age of 18, he graduated from the Kanagawa Commercial Fisheries School in 1986 and became apprenticed to Yukoh Tada, winner of the first BOC race in 1982 (Class 2).
Kojiro worked with Yukoh on his entry in the third BOC Challenge in 1990, helping to build his 50ft yacht, OKERA VII and followed the race as part of the shore crew. Following the tragic death of Yukoh Tada, Kojiro modified the 50fter, renaming it Spirit of Yukoh in honour of his friend, and took off on his first solo round the world trip. In 1994, after 176 days and aged just 26, Kojiro entered the record books by becoming the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe non-stop and single-handed.