Ninth edition of The Ultimate Solo Challenge announced at prizegiving celebrations in La Rochelle

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston with the VELUX 5 OCEANS trophy - credit onEdition/ VELUX 5 OCEANSTHE rich heritage of the 5 OCEANS, the original solo round the world yacht race, is set to continue after it was announced the next edition of the race will start in autumn 2014.

Round the world yachting legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man ever to sail solo around the world non-stop, revealed plans for the 2014 event at the prizegiving ceremony for the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2010-11, which earlier this week reached a thrilling climax in La Rochelle, France, with Brad Van Liew claiming the title, the first time an American skipper has taken the historical Class I crown.

Sir Robin, who has been linked to the 5 OCEANS since it started life as the BOC Challenge in 1982, said the ninth edition of the race in 2014 would piggyback on the success of the current edition, which saw the effective introduction of the Eco 60 Class and some incredibly tight racing between the five competing skippers from five different nations.

“The 5 OCEANS has an incredible 29-year heritage and remains the oldest continually-running solo round the world race,” Sir Robin said. “It has been the launch pad for the Open 60 Class and for many of the greatest names in the history of shorthanded racing. After the success of the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2010-11, the 2014 event will once again be open to Eco 60s. Clipper Ventures is committed to continuing this classic event and keeping it at the forefront of singlehanded ocean racing with the next edition in 2014. 

Michael Rasmussen, the Chief Marketing Officer for the VELUX Group commented, “VELUX has been the proud sponsor of the VELUX 5 OCEANS race for two very successful editions and we have had a fantastic experience in our involvement with this internationally recognised event. The VELUX Group is still evaluating the benefits and returns from the 2010-11 edition of the race and will make a decision on our ongoing support for the VELUX 5 OCEANS once this process is completed in the coming months.”

Held every four years since 1982, the race has provided a stepping stone to aspiring solo sailors and also gave birth to the Open 60 Class, now regarded as the ultimate ocean racing machine. Despite a small field of entries, the 2010-11 VELUX 5 OCEANS has proven that the Eco 60 Class can produce exciting and fast top-level racing, with an unprecedented 80% of the boats completing the solo circumnavigation.

In its 29-year history the 5 OCEANS race has given rise to some of the world’s most respected solo sailors including Philippe Jeantot, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, Isabelle Autissier, Christophe Auguin, Giovanni Soldini, Mike Golding and Bernard Stamm, as well as welcoming international skippers from all corners of the globe.

Highlights of the 2010-11 edition include the closest ever finish in solo ocean racing history, with just 40 seconds separating Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski and Chris Stanmore-Major at the end of 7,000 miles of racing through the Southern Ocean from Wellington (New Zealand) to Punta del Este (Uruguay). Brad Van Liew became the first American to race round Cape Horn solo three times and the first non-European to win the class for 60 footers, while Gutek became the first Pole to race solo around the world. The route and the host ports for the 2014 edition of the 5 OCEANS will be announced at a later date.


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VELUX 5 OCEANS – The Ultimate Solo Challenge

The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the Ultimate Solo Challenge, the ultimate human endeavour. More than 500 people have been into space – less than 180 have sailed round the world solo. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is a series of five high-pressure ocean sprints within a marathon 30,000-nautical mile circumnavigation. The race, run every four years since 1982, has a rich heritage which has given rise to some of the world's best sailors. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is not only the longest round the world yacht race but at nearly 30 years old is also the longest running. Always at the forefront of ocean racing innovation, the 2010/11 VELUX 5 OCEANS will see the premiere of the Eco 60 class of yachts, pushing a message of sustainability, accessibility and affordability.


About the VELUX Group 

The VELUX Group holds the title sponsorship of VELUX 5 OCEANS for the second time. The spirit, values and nature of the race and its skippers are similar to those of the VELUX Group. As a manufacturer of roof windows, the VELUX Group employs creativity and an innovative approach to the development of new products and business strategies. In its mission to create better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof the Group has earned the reputation of being one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector. The VELUX Group has manufacturing companies in 11 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, it has about 10,000 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family. 


Clipper Ventures Plc

This year marks 41 years since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's historic solo and non-stop circumnavigation in 1969. Now, as Chairman of Clipper Ventures PLC, he is at the forefront of promoting round the world yacht racing. Clipper Ventures, the marine sports company founded in 1995, is focused on developing and promoting major events capable of attracting significant participation, income, media coverage and associated sponsorship revenue. Knox-Johnston founded Clipper Ventures on the belief that sailing should be made available to everyone and therefore created the Clipper Round the World Race, with 2,000 people having now completed one of the seven races to date.


Race Partners and Suppliers

Transportation Partner, Maersk Line: www.maerskline.com
Start/Finish Port, La Rochelle (France): www.ville-larochelle.fr / www.agglo-larochelle.fr
Host Ports: Cape Town, Wellington, Punta del Este, Charleston
Technical Clothing Supplier: www.henrilloyd.com
Navigation/Routing Supplier: www.maxsea.com 
Research Partner, Portsmouth University: www.port.ac.uk 
Sustainability Partner, Sailors for the Sea: www.sailorsforthesea.org
Marine Forecast Supplier:  http://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/ 
Official Timekeeper: www.nauticawatches.com 
Electronic Chart Supplier: www.jeppesen.com/lightmarine