Designer Tommy Hilfiger announced today that Tommy Hilfiger USA, Inc. will sponsor American Brad Van Liew’s entry in the 2002-2003 “Around Alone” yacht race.
The 28,000-mile, 9-month long sailing race begins in New York City on September 15, 2002, and circumnavigates the world by way of the five great capes. Sailing alone aboard the newly named and completely retro-fitted 50-foot Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America yacht, Van Liew will face extreme conditions to battle a diverse international fleet of the world's best solo sailors in one of the most mentally and physically demanding competitive sports in the world.
"Brad is the United States' premier solo sailor and we are very proud and extremely excited about this opportunity to support him," said Hilfiger. "It takes hard work, resourcefulness, perseverance and courage to succeed. Brad and the Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America team personify these qualities and are an embodiment of the American dream."
Van Liew, 34, skipper of the Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America yacht, was the only American to finish the 1998-99 Around Alone, taking 3rd place in the 50-foot class. The race is held every four years and this event will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a new start in New York harbor. Recognizing the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the race will begin in New York between Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty as part of a commemorative tribute to all those who lost their lives. Van Liew and his Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America team will spend the summer in New York City preparing for the race.
"Tommy Hilfiger is a classic American designer known the world over for his quality and style," said Van Liew. "I'm excited about this partnership because we share many traits as a strong and dedicated all-American team. We will proudly fly the Tommy Hilfiger colours."
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman of race organizers Clipper Ventures plc, and first person to win a solo RTW yacht race, was thrilled: "We at Around Alone share Brad's delight at this excellent news. Sponsorship has not been easy to obtain during this past year and it is good to see an internationally renowned brand such as Tommy Hilfiger getting behind an experienced sailor in this world class event."
For more information on the Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America team and yacht, please visit http://www.oceanracing.org. Graphic depictions of the newly designed competition yacht are available on request.