Title sponsor pleased with VELUX 5 OCEANS progress

With less than six months to race start, the VELUX Group is optimistic about the prospects of the event.
At least eight skippers are expected to be at the starting line on 17 October 2010 - both young first timers and experienced senior sailors, which will make for a nail-biting race.

With the VELUX Group organising its second title sponsorship of VELUX 5 OCEANS, the prospects of making yet another success of the longest and toughest sailing event in the world are more than promising.

VELUX 5 OCEANS is one of a handful of round-the-world yacht races – but it is unique in that no other race can match the concept of a skipper racing alone across five gruelling ocean sprints with five demanding legs. Last time the event generated more than €66 million in media value – this time the target is €100 million.

"It is an ambitious target – but it is achievable if everybody involved continues their dedicated efforts to reach the goal. With all that has recently happened in terms of skippers, the media team and partners, things are taking shape – though we still have a lot of work in front of us," says Chief Marketing Officer Michael Rasmussen of the VELUX Group.

An intricate set up for generating media content is in place that will provide full service for all kinds of media – online communication, photos, TV, radio and print media. The skippers' yachts will be fitted with several cameras with which they will send weekly video reports; furthermore they will stay in touch with race followers via social media such as Twitter and Facebook. To host this considerable amount of content, a new and fascinating race website is to be launched prior to race start.

VELUX 5 OCEANS is also gaining momentum in terms of sponsorship partners. One already in place is with clothing designer Henri Lloyd, who will kit out the entire VELUX 5 OCEANS team, including everyone involved in the VELUX Group as title sponsor, race organiser Clipper Ventures and the more than 500 guests invited by VELUX sales companies around the world to the race start in La Rochelle, France, on 17 October. Another important partnership is that with Marine Camera Solutions who are providing the video cameras that will enable live coverage of the drama and daily life of the skippers on their circumnavigation.

Considerable skipper interest despite tough sponsor market
The global financial downturn has been a challenge for the individual skippers in their search for sponsors. Nevertheless, seven skippers from seven different countries have officially announced their entries, which indicate that they either have or expect soon to have a yacht and a boat sponsor in place. Another handful of skippers have paid the race entrance fee but have not yet officially announced their participation.

"The last couple of years have been tough for the global business environment. But just as we in the VELUX Group are beginning to see small signs of improvement, so are others. This awakens a new spirit, new opportunities and renewed progress," says VELUX Group Chief Marketing Officer Michael Rasmussen.

As the youngest skipper ever to compete in the race, nineteen-year-old Oscar Mead from the UK has just entered the race with the clear ambition of being one of the youngest skippers ever to sail single-handed around the world. He is accompanied by 26 years old French sailor Louis Duc, who is an up and coming solo sailor from Normandy. Oscar and Louis will line up against some of the world's top sailors for the race.

All the skippers so far are competing with the ECO 60, a new class of boat that Clipper Ventures is introducing at the upcoming edition of VELUX 5 OCEANS. Apart from a number of sustainable constraints on the boats, this class also breaks with the tradition of building new and faster boats for each race – ECO 60 is based on re-using boats built before January 2003, so they are much less expensive. Two skippers, Brad van Liew, USA, and Derek Hatfield, Canada, have both announced their plans to sail around the world using no fossil fuel at all.

"Both financially and in terms of sustainability this boat class makes very good sense. In the VELUX Group, we see the same coherence between sustainable strategies and financial performance. This correlates well with the VELUX value-for-money objective – to provide more value than our customers pay for a given product," says Michael Rasmussen.

The race starts 17 October 2010 at La Rochelle, France and, after stops in Cape Town (South Africa), Wellington (New Zealand), Salvador (Brazil) and Charleston (South Carolina, USA), will finish where it started at La Rochelle in June 2011

VELUX 5 OCEANS – the Ultimate Solo Challenge
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the oldest single-handed round-the-world yacht race. Run every four years since 1982, the race is the longest and toughest event for any individual in any sport. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is a series of five high-pressure ocean sprints as part of a marathon circumnavigation. In the course of the 30,000-mile single-handed race, the skippers cross five oceans. The next VELUX 5 OCEANS will take place in 2010-2011 and promises to reach a global audience as the dramatic stories are followed live on TV, radio, print, Internet and mobile technology.

About Clipper Ventures Plc
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's historic non-stop solo circumnavigation in 1970. 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, specialises in developing and promoting major events capable of attracting significant participation, income, media coverage and associ-ated sponsorship revenue. The company owns the rights to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and VELUX 5 OCEANS.