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Sailor sells his sweat to stay in the Golden Globe Race

by Tim Newson 11 Sep 2016 11:07 BST 11 September 2016

Professional UK sailor Tim Newson is selling bottles of his sweat to fund his 2018 Golden Globe Race campaign in a scheme called the Labour Exchange. The sailing race starts from Falmouth in June 2018. The course is round the Great Capes and will take about nine months to complete, with no stops or outside assistance. Tim has just a few weeks before he forfeits his place in this historic race. With this deadline and after months of looking for a title sponsor he has decided to offer a limited series of 1000 handmade bottles of his sweat to generate the funds he needs to compete.

The Golden Globe race was last held in 1968, when Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world and Donald Crowhurst tragically died. 'Communication is going to be patchy so the most important thing that will keep me going is the job - sailing the boat. Nine months is a long time to be alone. Crowhurst didn't have that focus while he was waiting in the Atlantic and I think he suffered terribly as a result. I know I'll get satisfaction from the different things I have to do to keep the boat and myself going. I want to use the race to advocate just how important our jobs are for our mental health and how our work can nourish us. This is what my GGR is all about and this is what the Labour Exchange is all about' explained Tim.

Each bottle of Tim's sweat is individually hand blown and presented in a handmade wooden box. It also comes with a velum certificate of authenticity. The 100ml in each bottle takes about an hour to produce. The glass is embossed with 'Une Heure'. The certificate, box and bottle is designed to function in much the same way as an investment bond, with their value steadily increasing over time due to their rarity. Tim, who studied History of Art, also likens them to a limited print series. He is confident that with interest rates so low such an investment will be attractive: "For people wanting to save some money there aren't very many options at the moment, so I thought I'd offer an alternative to gold."

When asked if he thought it was distasteful he replied: "I know the idea of a bottle of sweat might be off putting, but this sweat represents mindless dull work which I consider even more distasteful. This hour of toil is then taken up and celebrated by all these wonderful crafts – glassblowing, the finest joinery and calligraphy – all jobs that require great technique and engage us. The Labour Exchange is a celebration of good work, it reminds us that every hour should be respected and of how important it is to be able to take pride in our work. Sure it's superficially repulsive, it's satirical, but it's also beautiful."

Before the sweat is put in the bottle it is sterilised to kill any bacteria. The bottle is then sealed closed so that it can never be opened. There is an additional ribbon and wax seal that renders it tamper-proof.

The perspiration is collected by a special machine that Tim has designed and built. It's called the Labour Harvester. It's a large glass box with an exercise bike inside. 'It's actually quite tricky to collect sweat. I have to breathe through a special snorkel so I'm not collecting the condensation in my breath, it gets very hot after about half an hour – around 35 centigrade. It's horrible to be honest but it does keep me trim'

In a recent blog Tim explained how it's been an especially tough year to be looking for a sponsor with so much instability in the economy. "Selling bottles of my sweat feels more appropriate after all that's happened this year. Besides this race is all about being self-sufficient and creating new solutions. This is way more proactive than calling up City firms asking if they want my boat to be a floating billboard for them. With the Labour Exchange I'm now looking for lots of individual investors - it's a business. It's more work but it'll be more rewarding - which is the whole point", said Tim. The first 100 bottles will go on sale later this month. The price is expected to be around £1050 each. Tim says that there has already been some interest with 25 bottles already reserved.

"Just getting to start in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe race was the toughest part for many of the participants. Nothing has changed. Tim only has Blood and Tears left to give, but something tells me he will be there. Passion is everything in life and so it is for the 2018 Golden Globe Race," says Don McIntyre, 2018 Golden Globe Race Founder.

When he's not working on his race boat, Black Sheep, Tim works as a sailing instructor. He has previously worked for Médecins Sans Frontières and as a Researcher at the House of Commons. He studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute.

Tim's Golden Globe campaign website:

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