Emma Richards, the 27-year old British yachtswoman, will fly the flag for Britain in the 2002-2003 Around Alone yacht race, it was announced today.
Emma, who is backed by Pindar, the British-based print and electronic media company, is the only British entry in the tough 28,000 mile yachting marathon. Of the 18 skippers who start the race she will be the youngest competitor, and also the only female entry in the race. The only woman to have previously entered the race was the legendary French yachtswoman Isabelle Autissier, who competed on three occasions.
Richards will take part in the Open 60 Class I, on-board what was Josh Hall' s Gartmore. The 60-foot monohull has been chartered by Pindar, and is to be renamed and rebranded in their colours. Pindar has also secured the services of Josh Hall and his team as Richards' shore crew. Hall is a veteran of single-handed campaigns having competed in three BOC Challenges and the 2000/2001 Vendée Globe.
Brought up in Scotland, sailing has been in Emma's blood since birth. Her skill and seamanship first came to prominence as a crew-member of Tracy Edwards' 1998 Jules Verne attempt on Royal Sun Alliance. Since 1999 she has been sponsored by Pindar, an international print and electronic media company with headquarters in Scarborough, Yorkshire. Sailing in Pindar's colours, Emma has competed in various international races including the 1999 and 2001 Transat Jacques Vabre, the 2000 Europe 1 New Man Star, as well as the 2000 - 2001 Volvo Ocean Race, and has shown herself to be one of the most exciting young British talents in ocean sailing.
Emma Richards comments: "I have no doubt that this will be the challenge of my life. As well as facing some great competitors and top class boats, the race is going to be both physically and mentally demanding. We will be in the Southern Ocean a long time, so I know this will be the hardest sailing I have ever experienced. But I'm very lucky to be taking part in the race in a very competitive boat, and with a highly-experienced shore crew. Most importantly, I'm very fortunate to have the continued support of Pindar, who have been my sponsors for the past three years, and without whom my participation in the race wouldn't be possible."