GOSS GOES SOLO
West Country sailor Pete Goss has answered the question most asked of him in recent years: “When are you returning to solo ocean racing?” He announced today that he is to compete in the gruelling Route du Rhum race later this year.
Pete has partnered with “Team Concise”, winners of last year’s Class 40 World Championship, to enter a brand new boat in the 3,500-mile race commencing on Sunday 31st October 2010.
The Route du Rhum is a major fixture on the sailing calendar attracting a fleet of more than 60 boats. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the race village prior to the start off St Malo and watch the boats as they track down the French coast before they head out across the Atlantic for the Caribbean, finishing at Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadalupe.
Racing a Class 40 will be very different to his last challenge, sailing ‘Spirit of Mystery’, a 37-foot wooden lugger weighing 16-tonnes, to Australia at an average speed of about 4 knots. A Class 40 weighs a quarter of that and can sail at speeds in excess of 25 knots.
Pete says that he is excited by the new boat Concise 2. During recent sail trials it more than lived up to his expectations. He said: “It has been a few years since I have sailed such a fast, high-tech boat and the systems have come on leaps and bounds. Concise2 is fun, responsive and eager to please so I am looking forward to working up to, and competing in, the Route du Rhum. It’s one of the ‘greats’ that I have always wanted to do. The competition will be tough, but I am going for a result and then looking forward to enjoying Guadeloupe. Despite all my miles at sea I have never sailed in the Caribbean. I just know I am going to love it.”
‘Team Concise’ is made up of two halves, with the current young World Championship Crew working up the boat to defend their title in Gijon in July before they compete in the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland race. Pete will be working in parallel with this programme until Concise 2 moves to Plymouth in August when he will start his own full time preparations. According to Pete, “mixing it up with the young guns” will be a tremendous help as he gets to know the boat.
The 48-year-old from St John in Cornwall is no stranger to sailing solo in high performance boats though. He is perhaps best known for his extraordinary single-handed rescue of Frenchman and fellow competitor Raphael Dinelli during a severe Southern Ocean storm in the 1996 Vendee Globe, for which he was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty The Queen and the Legion d’Honneur by the President of France.
It is this sort of experience that Pete brings to the ISAF World Championship winning team. Team Concise owner Tony Lawson said: “This is a truly symbiotic relationship. Pete will race a brand new boat prepared by my boys as part of his short-handed offshore racing program. Meanwhile we can benefit from the advice and inspiration of this world-renowned offshore sailor, building on our knowledge base as we prepare for bigger challenges ahead. We hope it is the start of a long-term relationship”.
Asked if this race signals a return to a career as a solo ocean racer, Pete said: “I have never had a career, just a series of adventures and who knows where this one will lead. I never say never, so let’s see where this takes us.”
Pete’s entry in the race has been made possible thanks to the support of silver sponsors including: Girlings, Talisker, CSR and a fourth one to be announced shortly; but he is still looking for a title sponsor. So if you want to become part of the Team and support Pete’s return to solo ocean sailing, please contact him through the website www.petegoss.com.
Ends – Dated 07/06/10
See this story on the BBC by clicking here.