With his win in the Velux 5 Oceans Race at the end of May, American sailor Brad Van Liew has set a record for an American ocean racer: the first to finish three solo around the world races. An impressive feat of voyaging!
From the press release: He has spent more than 500 days alone at sea in the last fifteen years, racing under extreme conditions around the planet earth. Sleeping in brief catnaps around the clock, subsiding on dehydrated food, and enduring the physical and mental challenges of solo racing around the globe on a high tech 60-foot race boat may sound appalling to some, while Van Liew keeps asking for more. He is the very first American to ever officially finish three solo races around the globe. He is also the first person worldwide to sweep all legs of the VELUX 5 OCEANS race for two complete events. Today he crossed the finish line to win 1st Place in the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2010-11 race aboard his Le Pingouin ECO 60 boat claiming victory as the only entry from the USA and undoubtedly America’s finest solo ocean racer.
“I feel the exuberance and joy of winning an incredible race and experiencing the unforgettable journey of sailing around the world alone,” said Van Liew while waiting outside the locks to enter La Rochelle’s historic Harbor. “There is just nothing else in the world like it. The challenges are unique and can be dangerous and invigorating at the same time. It is a test of the soul and involves reaching deep to overcome physical and mental challenges I have seen nowhere else in sport or life.”
Van Liew has competed in this epic solo race twice before aboard 50-foot race boats, taking third place as an underdog entry in 1999 and winning first place in his class in 2003 with a convincing cumulative lead of 21 days. The VELUX 5 OCEANS race of 2010-11 marks his first race on a 60-foot race boat and the introduction of the ECO-60 class. Each competitor is challenged with not only sailing around the world alone, but also showcasing sustainable practices that care for the delicate ocean environment.
Van Liew and his Team Lazarus Project are supported by an important group of sponsors, including Ondeck, Cape Wind, South Carolina State Ports Authority, Newport Shipyard, Garden & Gun Magazine, Gill North America, Samson Ropes, B&G, Simrad, Awlgrip, AlpineAire, Grawnola, and several others.
The Velux 5 Oceans started from La Rochelle in France on October 17, 2010 and features five ocean sprints. After heading from La Rochelle, France to Cape Town, South Africa, the fleet sailed across the vast Southern Indian Ocean to Wellington, New Zealand. From there, the racing yachts sailed to Punta del Este, Uruguay, and then up the Atlantic to Charleston, South Carolina. Van Liew is the first to finish the final stretch across the Atlantic to France for the finish, while Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski (POL), Derek Hatfield (CAN), and Chris Stanmore-Major (GBR) are expected to finish in the next 48 hours.