22 March 2012|
Surviving a round-the-world race without corporate sponsorship
Since the start of the double-handed, Class40 Global Ocean Race (GOR) in late September last year, the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire with Phesheya-Racing have sailed 23,000 miles in the event’s three legs spending 118 days of the past six months racing offshore without a title sponsor: a feat that has been achieved through a mix of family and corporate support and a current re-birth of interest in offshore racing in their home country.
Of the five Class40s crossing the start line of Leg 3 in Wellington, New Zealand, for the 6,600-mile course through the Pacific and South Atlantic to the finish line in Punta del Este, Uruguay, three of the teams had varying levels of corporate backing; Cessna Citation, Campagne de France and Buckley Systems. Two of the fleet – Phesheya-Racing and Financial Crisis - have been privately funded combined with partial corporate backing.
During the first few days of Leg 3, Buckley Systems was forced to withdraw from the race following severe back injury to Ross Field in strong headwinds and Campagne de France failed to complete the course, judging the conditions ahead to be too severe and followed the Fields back to New Zealand. The achievement of all the teams reaching Uruguay is immense and the leg victory by Conrad Colman with Cessna Citation was a career milestone for the Kiwi skipper, but the significance of two un-sponsored teams completing the challenge of the GOR’s most demanding leg through the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn, successfully circling over half the planet, is exceptional.
Marco Nannini’s GOR campaign with Financial Crisis has been funded by partial corporate sponsorship and public donations and while Leggatt and Hutton-Squire’s campaign has been under-pinned by the UK-based, accounting software company, bluQube, and a group of partner sponsors, the biggest logo on their first generation Akilaria’s hull is Cape Crisp – the fruit farming business owned by the Hutton-Squire family in Elgin, the Western Cape’s centre of apple production 70km south-east of Cape Town.