Emma RICHARDS will return to ocean racing this November when she teams up with one of the world's leading sailors, Mike SANDERSON, to compete in the double-handed yacht race, the Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre, France, to Salvador, Brazil.
Richards, 28, and Sanderson, 32, will compete in the 18 month old Owen Clark design Open 60 to be re-named Pindar. The yacht was recently purchased by Emma's sponsors of the past four years, Pindar - the leading British-based international print and electronic media company, and Emma has spent the summer overseeing a major re-fit for the new yacht in Cherbourg, France. The boat is now tailored to Emma's specifications and will debut in Pindar's colours at the start line of the Transat Jacques Vabre in Le Havre on Saturday 1st November 2003.
Emma, who sailed into the record books earlier this year by becoming the youngest ever competitor to complete the single handed round-the-world yacht race Around Alone, will take part in her first race in the new yacht alongside one of the world's top sailors, Mike Sanderson. Sanderson, who was most recently mainsheet trimmer onboard Oracle BMW Racing's America's Cup campaign, will take time out from his current position as race skipper for Mari Cha IV in order to co-skipper Pindar in the Transat Jacques Vabre. Mike, from New Zealand, has 3 America's Cups, 2 Whitbreads and numerous other races under his belt, and will form a formidable partnership with British sailing's new heroine.
In addition to a first-class team out on the water, Pindar has also reached agreements with a number of corporate partners to support their on-going sponsorship of Emma Richards during the next three years. Companies signed up so far as official partners to the Pindar team include Henri Lloyd, Raymarine and Harken.
Emma plans to compete in other races next year such as the RWYC Single handed transatlantic race (formally OSTAR) as well as the Quebec to St Malo crewed race, but the long-term plan for both Emma and Pindar is to use the new boat as a platform for a Volvo Ocean Race campaign. Pindar are currently talking to other companies about potential partnerships in order to secure the necessary finances to run a leading campaign in the world's premier ocean race.
Emma Richards commented:
I am really looking forward to getting back on the water again in my first ocean race since Around Alone. I learnt a lot during my solo circumnavigation that I look forward to taking into the TJV. After spending the past nine months sailing on my own, I am really excited to be sailing as part of a team again, and in particular with such an experienced sailor as Mike. Our great shore team has spent the summer working hard on the new Pindar, and I am sure that we can be real contenders in this race."
Mike Sanderson commented:
"I am thrilled to be joining Emma and Pindar. I believe that she is one of the most talented female sailors in the world, with an extremely enthusiastic and supportive sponsor behind her and I'm confident that with the effort that we have put into the boat preparation and the level of our outstanding shore crew that we can be very competitive on the water."
Andrew Pindar, Chairman of G.A. Pindar & Son commented:
"After the global success of the Around Alone campaign there was never any doubt that we should step-up our support and involvement with Emma, and by buying an Open 60, I believe that we have been able to do just that. Emma has carried our brand around the world and we have been proud to be associated with her professionalism and talent. We are very excited to welcome such a world-class sailor as Mike into the Pindar team and are looking forward to their first race in our new yacht."