Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Brad Van Liew loses sailing company and prized yacht

by Brian Hicks on 2 Mar 2012
Brad Van Liew .
American ocean racer Brad Van Liew's racing yacht, Le Pingouin, is on its way to France for a new race with a new owner and his 15-year-old sailing company is out of business.

On Thursday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court closed the book on Van Liew Ventures, ending one chapter in the life of the only American to race solo around the world three times.

Van Liew said it basically came down to bad timing and bad luck.

He signed on to race in the 2010-11 Velux 5 Oceans race (formerly known as the Around Alone) just as the economy went south. His campaign aboard Le Pingouin never landed a title sponsor to pay the bills. In his previous races, he secured sponsorship from Balance Bar and Tommy Hilfiger, respectively. A title sponsor generally pays the bills in a campaign in exchange for the publicity that comes with winning.

And even though Van Liew was winning, without corporate backing in the Velux, he was barely able to keep the $1 million campaign afloat.

'The saddest thing is that this was the first race where there was ever prize money, and we had to use that money just to keep us going,' he said Thursday afternoon.

The Velux 5 Oceans paid prize money for winning each of its five legs, and Van Liew won all five. But it was not nearly enough. He secured just enough sponsorship from local and state businesses, including the State Ports Authority, to keep his racing crew following him as he circumnavigated the globe.

'Some of those local sponsors got us to the finish line,' he said.

Van Liew's Le Pingouin was repossessed in December and sold at auction to one of the boat's creditors in January. It has since been resold to a French team, which plans to run the boat in the Vendee Globe, a non-stop race around the world.

On Thursday afternoon, Van Liew told Bankruptcy Trustee Michell Vieira that Van Liew Ventures had nothing left now, except maybe a few tools.

The repossession of his boat was only the first of two financial hardships to hit the solo sailor late last year. Shortly after he lost Le Pingouin, Van Liew was named in a lawsuit against the South Carolina Maritime Foundation. As former executive director, he had signed leases guaranteeing payment for office space, but the Foundation didn't pay. That has forced him into personal bankruptcy as well.

These setbacks have not shut down Van Liew's sailing career. Right now, he is part of a crew hired by the Italian automobile company Maserati to set new monohull sailing records. In that endeavor, he is sailing with skipper Giovanni Soldini, who won the 1998-99 Around Alone.

The crew, which landed here two weeks ago after setting the monohull speed record from Cadiz, Spain to San Salvador, will set out later this month.

'It's what I do,' Van Liew said.
Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82RS Sailing 660x82Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

Zhik Kiama coat for winter watersports – Waterproof inside and out
Zhik’sKiama® Coat is designed for keeping warm in cold and wet conditions, especially when you are already wet. The waterproof, breathable lightweight shell on the inside, as well as the outer, means the jacket can go on over damp shore jackets and wet sailing gear, preventing chilling between races or when rigging and de-rigging in a cold boat park.
Posted on 11 Sep
North Sails 3Di – It all started with an idea
Dan worked alongside lead sail designer, and others among the North team to turn an idea into a game-changing technology “As a management team, we had to decide if we wanted to invest in the technology or not. The bet was about a 20 million dollar bet,” said North Sails CEO, Dan Neri, reflecting back on North’s decision to purchase an idea that eventually led to today’s most advanced sailmaking product: North Sails 3Di.
Posted on 23 Aug
Marine Resources sponsor IBI Boat Builder Award for 2nd year running
Marine Resources will once again sponsor the Apprenticeship and Training Scheme Award. Following the tremendous success of the 2016 IBI Boat Builder Awards, leading leisure marine and luxury yacht recruitment specialists Marine Resources will once again sponsor the Apprenticeship and Training Scheme Award. The winners will be announced on 15th November at the prestigious Awards Gala Dinner during the METSTRADE Show 2017 in the National Maritime Museum, Amsterdam.
Posted on 22 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
North Sails releases new 3Di Headsail for the J/105 Class
North Sails released its latest headsail design for competitive J/105 class. The Li-5 3Di jib replaces the L-4 3DL jib North Sails released its latest headsail design for the competitive J/105 class. The Li-5 3Di jib replaces the L-4 3DL jib bringing the ultimate consistency and performance of North’s exclusive 3Di technology to this light-air optimized headsail. The Li-5 is the perfect complement for the Mi-4 3Di jib which is an all-purpose sail.
Posted on 4 Aug
Hands up - Who is wearing the Zhik Boot 460 at the Moth Worlds?
The Zhik Boot 460 are known as the active dinghy sailors ‘best friend’. The Zhik Boot 460 are known as the active dinghy sailors ‘best friend’. Last week Peter Burling rang the Zhik product development team in Sydney, for assistance to get hold of a pair of the Boot 460s in time for the Moth Worlds in Lake Garda. And looking around the fleet it seems he’s not alone, and the 230 strong fleet of Moth sailors are voting with their feet too.
Posted on 29 Jul
Yacht Racing Forum extends partnership with Zhik for two more years
Top sailors choose Zhik gear to win world championships, and demand it for their OIympic campaigns. The company sells its products into an international network covering more than 40 countries, in Europe, the Americas and the Asia Pacific.
Posted on 25 Jul
Moth Worlds – Moth speed uncovered
C-Tech’s Tim Willetts takes time to reflect on changes in Moth class rig design and development over the past six years With the 2017 Moth world championship starting Tuesday, C-Tech’s Tim Willetts takes time to reflect on changes in Moth class rig design and development over the past six years. A lot has happened behind the scenes that is giving the top sailors the edge by staying ahead.
Posted on 25 Jul
Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
World Sailing confirms strong presence at Yacht Racing Forum 2017
The tenth edition of the Yacht Racing Forum, in Aarhus, Denmark will reassemble the sport’s key personalities and actors The tenth edition of the Yacht Racing Forum, in Aarhus, Denmark (November 27-28) will once again reassemble the sport’s key personalities and actors, including a strong delegation of World Sailing representatives.
Posted on 19 Jul