Velux 5 Oceans Race Announces New UK Skippers to Sail Eco 60 3

The Velux 5 Oceans Race used Cowes Week to make a series of announcements, including news that the race would feature British skippers. Ordinarily, this race would not have to compete so hard to attract British offshore talent, but the overlapping Barcelona World Race has tempted several competitors away from the solo race run by Clipper Ventures.

Chris Stanmore-Major and Simon Chalk will take advantage of the clever ECO 60 rules to compete in the Velux 5 Oceans Race.

For Chris Stanmore-Major, from Cowes on the Isle of Wight  the Velux 5 Oceans Race will be his first major singlehanded race and he is keenly aware of the challenge ahead.

“It’s a big step up for me and a quick turnaround from the Clipper Round the World Race, but it’s what I have wanted to be involved in for a long time and I am still in race mode. The crazy sleep patterns and relentless work now seem normal. Solo sailing is certainly new territory but that is the challenge. Everything comes down to the individual and if something goes wrong there is nowhere to hide – it’s just me, the boat and the ocean. Sir Robin is still the only Briton to have won a solo round the world yacht race – surely 41 years is long enough for any record to stand!”

Chalk, from Leicester, got his first taste of sailing in 1996, when, aged 24, he took part in the BT Global Challenge. His first ever trip on a yacht saw him sail from Brazil to New Zealand via the Southern Ocean, rounding the infamous Cape Horn in the process. A keen adventurer, Chalk hit the headlines in 2003 when he became the first Briton to row solo across the Indian Ocean, and holds nine Guinness World Records in ocean rowing.

“I am delighted to be taking part in the VELUX 5 OCEANS. This is a great opportunity to extend my ocean experience, take on a new challenge and compete against some of the world’s best sailors. Safety and reliability will underpin my campaign. Ocean Planet is a proven boat – let’s see what she can do.”

Both sailors will be racing in the Eco 60 class, introduced by the VELUX 5 OCEANS as a sustainable, affordable alternative to the latest generation Open 60 yachts. The introduction of the class, not only increases the sustainability of sailing, by effectively recycling these purpose built, fast racing yachts, but also provides a visible ‘ ladder’ to potential offshore sailors who are not able to make the jump to an expensive IMOCA 60 campaign.

Chris Stanmore-Major will race Sir Robin Knox Johnston’s boat ‘Saga Insurance’, Chalk will race the Eco 60 ‘Ocean Planet’, built by American yachtsman Bruce Schwab and raced in the VELUX 5 OCEANS in 2002/3 as well as the 2004/5 Vendée Globe.

Speaking to at Cowes Week, Chris made mention of Pilote Media’s introduction to commercial Yacht Racing – ‘Getting onto the Plane’. Chris said the paper helped to educate potential sponsors about the benefits of the sport. ‘Getting onto the Plane’ is included in the 2010 edition of the DARK BLUE BOOK – the Who’s Who of Yacht Racing and Sailing directory and is also available as a standalone download from the Pilote Media website.

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