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Gentoo Sailing Team Vendée Globe Campaign Launch

by James Harayda 16 Mar 2022 10:19 GMT

Gentoo Sailing Team will be competing in the 2024 Vendée Globe with James Harayda as the skipper. The team began in 2020 when Dee Caffari, offshore sailing legend, and James Harayda, a British up and coming talent, teamed up with an aim to win a gold medal at the Paris Olympics in the Mixed Doublehanded Offshore Class.

This discipline of sailing was later removed from the Olympics by the IOC due to concerns over cost, safety, and the overall aim to reduce athlete numbers. Much to the disappointment of Dee, James and the vast offshore sailing community, it opened up the door to explore new avenues in the sport.

The Vendée Globe is considered to many as the pinnacle of ocean racing, and one of the toughest sporting challenges available to mankind. The race is a solo, non-stop, and unassisted circumnavigation of the planet. James comments "the race has always been the ultimate challenge, and an event I have always wanted to conquer; it's the ultimate test of human endurance. On top of this, competing in the Vendée Globe is so much more than just showing up and competing; the funding needed, qualification requirements, and scale of the program is incredible."

Dee Caffari MBE, a veteran of the race, comments "The Vendee Globe takes talent and ability as well as resilience and tenacity. Having sailed with James for the last 18 months I have seem these qualities in him. He is a young and ambitious sailor who is keen to learn and improve. He is open to new ideas and willing to hear feedback and these characteristics have made him a pleasure to sail with and I am keen to help him realise his dream of a Vendee Globe entry."

In addition to the Vendée Globe campaign, Gentoo Sailing Team has created a unique initiative - the Gentoo Sailing Team Youth Development Program. The program began at the start of 2022, where 10 boys and 10 girls, aged 16-23, and from all different backgrounds were selected to join the program.

The programs aim is to offer a clear, achievable, and timebound pathway for the young sailors involved. All the sailors have different ambitions within the sport. James, the coaches, volunteers, and mentors will work with each of the sailors in order to open as many relevant doors as possible in order for the sailors to realise these ambitions. The sailors will benefit from mentoring, on and off-the-water coaching, technical workshops, and offshore racing in the 2022 JOG and RORC season. The sailors will also gain skills in teamwork, communication, and leadership and play a role in the teams wider sustainability projects.

Gentoo Sailing Team is also excited to announce that they have recently added the Ian Atkins Keelboat Awards bursary to its growing list of supporters. Designed to help and enable young people to engage in all forms of keelboat activity, the IAKA trustees saw great synergies with the Gentoo programme.

Ian Atkins, Patron of the IAKA said "having met James and understood his goals to educate and mentor young people as they seek to build real campaigns and careers in the performance yacht industry, we could think of few better candidates for our bursary in 2022. We will be following the progress of the programme closely and supporting James' efforts wherever we can".

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