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Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage backs local ocean racing team to take on the world

by Gentoo Sailing Team 24 Jun 2023 10:50 BST
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and James Harayda beside Gentoo © Gentoo Sailing Team

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, dipped her toes into the world of ocean racing when she met the Gentoo Sailing Team based at Haslar Marina, for a tour around their IMOCA 60 'Gentoo'.

Caroline was given a unique insight into the world of offshore sailing and the challenges it brings. Gentoo's skipper James Harayda showcased the yacht, its capabilities and discussed what life is like as an offshore solo sailor.

Already a two time British Double Handed National Champion, James talked about his upcoming race plans including the IMOCA Globe Race Series - the Rolex Fastnet Race and the 2024 Vendée Globe, the team's main focus.

More people have climbed to the summit of Mount Everest than single handedly circumnavigated the globe by sail. And the Vendee Globe, which started in 1989 and takes place every 4 years, has only ever been won by a Frenchman. At just 26, James will likely be the youngest competitor in the race. He will set off on this solo, non-stop, unassisted, 25,000nm course around the world from France next November. If James were successful he would be the youngest winner and first Brit!

James said: "It was great to meet Caroline and show her around Gentoo. As a team, we have been made to feel very welcome at our base in Haslar Marina, Gosport. It's humbling to have such amazing support from our local community."

As well as discussing sailing, Caroline and James found common ground on sustainability and combating plastic waste within the community. For several years Caroline has participated in campaigns to reduce plastic consumption and strongly believes that now is the time to act for a greener future.

James and the Gentoo team recently announced a partnership with the ocean charity Blue Marine Foundation. The team has an active role in supporting their initiatives, including the local Solent Oyster Restoration project. Gentoo Sailing Team hopes to raise awareness further in local schools and communities and encourage people to support these impactful projects.

Commenting after the visit Caroline said: "I was pleased to meet James and the Gentoo team to hear more about their exciting plans and their work around plastic pollution. I hope the whole Gosport community will get behind James and his team and follow their progress as they work towards this incredible challenge!"

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