US OCEAN RACER SETS SAIL FOR VELUX 5 OCEANS START

 Brad Van Liew bids farewell to Charleston and heads 5,600 kms to La Rochelle
 
AMERICAN ocean racer Brad Van Liew will today wave goodbye to his family, friends and supporters for the first of many times over the next nine months as he sets sail bound for La Rochelle, the home of the VELUX 5 OCEANS. Today is Labor Day in the USA, a national holiday, and hundreds of wellwishers are expected to turn out to give the 42-year-old a special send off from his home town of Charleston, South Carolina.
 
Onboard his high-tech Eco 60 racing yacht Le Pingouin, the 42-year-old will slip his moorings at Seabreeze Marina at 11 AM EST / 4 PM BST / 5 PM CEST to the cheers of the watching crowd before making his way through the harbour out into the open sea bound for France. Some 5,600 kilometres of Atlantic Ocean sailing stand between Brad and the official VELUX 5 OCEANS start line in La Rochelle.
 
The departure is expected to watched by hundreds of locals but those who don’t live in Charleston can watch all the action live via http://www.oceanracing.org/LIVE.html
 
Coverage will start from the dockside at 9 AM EST / 2 PM BST / 3 PM CEST and will capture the emotional farewells before continuing across the harbour and out beyond the breakwater as Brad sets off on the voyage that will qualify him for the VELUX 5 OCEANS. The coverage will be presented by Brad’s clothing partner Gill.
 
The qualifying sail will serve as a last chance to test electronics, sails, communication systems and hardware before Brad and his seven fellow ocean racers begin their 55,000-kilometre journey alone around the planet. This edition of the VELUX 5 OCEANS will be Brad’s third, having raced in the 1998/9 and 2002/3 editions, winning class two in the latter race. Recently Brad’s Team Lazarus secured associate sponsorship from international sail training company ONDECK, who will also be the official source of Team Lazarus/Le Pingouin merchandise.
 
Belgian ocean racer Christophe Bullens is currently rounding the tiny island of Flores, the most westerly in the Azores archipelago, marking the halfway stage of his qualifying passage onboard his Eco 60 Five Oceans of Smiles. The remaining ocean racers are entering the final preparation stage ahead of their qualifying passages before converging in La Rochelle in early October ahead of the race start on October 17.
 
The VELUX 5 OCEANS, run by Clipper Ventures PLC, is the longest running solo round the world race, and has 28 years of rich heritage as the BOC Challenge and then the Around Alone. This edition features five ocean sprints over nine months. After setting off on October 17 from La Rochelle to Cape Town, the race will then take in Wellington in New Zealand, Salvador in Brazil and Charleston in the US before returning back across the Atlantic to France.

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