Canada’s Derek Hatfield (who makes his home in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia), was forced to retire from the Vendée Globe round the world, non-stop solo sailing race in December, due to damage to his boat. He nursed his Algimouss Spirit of Canada to Hobart, Tasmania, where he fixed the damage, and on February 27, he left Hobart, determined to complete the course of the race, even if he is no longer officially in it. Thus he will gain valuable solo experience and the knowledge of his Open 60 equal to that of anyone who completes such a race. He will not get the support from the race organizers that he would have had were he still in the race. However, he will be sailing along parts of the route in the company of some other major offshore races.
The Vendée Globe is gradually wrapping up with the final three boats now in the North Atlantic and due to reach France in the next couple of weeks.
Fair winds, Derek. Hope to see you back home safe and sound in a couple of months!
Got some serious cash and top-notch sailing skills? Want to sail the Southern Ocean in a very fast, well-equipped boat with an experienced skipper, take her round Cape Horn and up the South and North Atlantic to France? Does Derek Hatfield have an opportunity for you!
Stranded in Tasmania after broken spreaders on the Open 60, Spirit of Canada, forced him to quit the Vendée Globe round-the-world solo race, Derek has been repairing the boat, but can’t afford to pack her in a crate and ship her back. He has to sail her. And this is where you come in – if you can outbid your competition, that is. Go for it!
Derek Hatfield is in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, having carefully piloted his Open 60 sailboat, Spirit of Canada, to the closest shelter of land after the boat was damaged in the Vendée Globe solo, non-stop, round-the-world sailing race (“the Everest of sailing”).
Spirit of Canada had been hit by a huge wave that knocked the boat over and broke the spreaders high above the deck. The race’s rules require that participants repair any damage without any outside help if they are to stay in the race, but this damage is not something that Derek could have repaired alone.
In fact, of the 30 boats that started this race 50 days ago, only 12 remain in the running, so he is in very respectable company. A look at the race’s map (see www.vendeeglobe.org/en/ and click on the Map) shows the southernmost points of land littered with boats that have had to abandon the race.
“Spirit of Canada” has been a shoestring project all along, without the major corporate sponsorship and intense media interest enjoyed by Derek’s European competitors. The whole enterprise has been built on the small donations of thousands of Canadians. Now they have to get the boat back home to Nova Scotia, and fixed so it can participate in future Open 60 races. Shipping a boat like that is very expensive. However, sailing it home would require that it be fixed first, which has its own logistical challenges. If you can help support “Spirit of Canada” with a financial contribution, please do so. You can make a donation via their website, SpiritOfCanada.net, and send supportive e-mails to Derek from there as well.
Canada’s Derek Hatfield hit an oilslick at 16 knots today, and it washed over the boat making a big mess. Now he has to clean up while still trying to make up for time he lost at the beginning of the race due to equipment problems. At least he’s not dead last anymore in the Vendée Globe round the world solo yacht race. But imagine the hazard of a slimy, slippery deck when you’re already pushing the limits.
We should all be wildly cheering on Derek Hatfield in his Algimouss Spirit of Canada, 60 foot speed machine, who is sailing alone around the world in the Vendée Globe race. He’s been running a bootstrap operation without the advantages of staff and money that a major sponsor would provide, but with the support of thousands of Canadians. Why isn’t there a daily update in a box on the front page of the Halifax Herald? Check out his site at SpiritOfCanada.net and the Vendée Globe site.