Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Global Ocean Race - Surviving without a title sponsor

by Oliver Dewar on 23 Mar 2012
Johnny, Di and Phillippa Hutton-Squire prepare Class40 Phesheya-Racing for GOR Leg 4 - 2011-12 Phesheya Racing
Since the beginning of the double-handed, Class40 Global Ocean Race in late September last year, the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire with Phesheya-Racing have sailed 23,000 miles in the event’s three legs spending 118 days of the past six months racing offshore without a title sponsor: a feat that has been achieved through a mix of family and corporate support and a current rebirth of interest in offshore racing in their home country.

Of the five Class40s crossing the start line of Leg 3 in Wellington, New Zealand, for the 6,600-mile course through the Pacific and South Atlantic to the finish line in Punta del Este, Uruguay, three of the teams had varying levels of corporate backing; Cessna Citation, Campagne de France and Buckley Systems. Two of the fleet – Phesheya-Racing and Financial Crisis - have been privately funded combined with partial corporate backing.

During the first few days of Leg 3, Buckley Systems was forced to withdraw from the race following severe back injury to Ross Field in strong headwinds and Campagne de France failed to complete the course, judging the conditions ahead to be too severe and followed the Fields back to New Zealand. The achievement of all the teams reaching Uruguay is immense and the leg victory by Conrad Colman with Cessna Citation was a career milestone for the Kiwi skipper, but the significance of two un-sponsored teams completing the challenge of the GOR’s most demanding leg through the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn, successfully circling over half the planet, is exceptional.

Marco Nannini’s GOR campaign with Financial Crisis has been funded by Nannini with partial corporate sponsorship and public donations and while Leggatt and Hutton-Squire’s campaign has been under-pinned by the UK-based, accounting software company, bluQube, and a group of partner sponsors, the biggest logo on their first generation Akilaria’s hull is Cape Crisp – the fruit farming business owned by the Hutton-Squire family in Elgin, the Western Cape’s centre of apple production 70km south-east of Cape Town.

Both of Phillippa Hutton-Squire’s parents are in Punta del Este helping with preparation work prior to the start of 5,700-mile Leg 4 from Uruguay to Charleston, USA. Johnny and Di Hutton-Squire were in Palma pre-start of Leg 1 and were in Cape Town for the Leg 1-Leg 2 stopover, but visiting their daughter in Punta del Este wasn’t confirmed until recently: 'We were thinking about coming and then Phillippa actually said ‘please, Mum, will you come’, which is the first direct request we’ve had,' explains the 28-year-old sailor’s mother while taking a short break from splicing a spinnaker snuffer downhaul on the pontoons in Puerto Punta del Este.

Johnny Hutton-Squire – known as ‘Johnny Apples’ to the Cape Town sailing fraternity – is enthusiastic about being part of his daughter’s offshore programme: 'It’s a fantastic opportunity to come and be part of the race,' he confirms. 'Our whole objective from the outset was to be part of the Global Ocean Race. We couldn’t stay at home and miss out as we were part of the race in Palma and joined-in during the Cape Town stopover.'

For the parents, the GOR has become part of their life and with a strong sailing background, a ready-made shore crew is on hand: 'We enjoy contributing when we can and it’s fantastic to be part of a round-the-world race, which is quite a unique thing to be connected with,' he adds. His wife agrees: 'We’ve seen so many races and so many crews passing through Cape Town and it’s great to actually be part of it,' says Di Hutton-Squire.

However, with the fruit harvest in full-swing in South Africa, the Hutton-Squires cannot remain in Uruguay for long: 'Our two sons, Richard and Charlie, are on the farm for the first time together and this has given us the opportunity to get away.

So after 40 years of farming, Di and I can take time off and come and do things we enjoy,' explains Johnny Hutton-Squire. 'If my brothers weren’t looking after the farm, then we wouldn’t be able to have such a strong shore team,' adds Phillippa.

For Nick Leggatt, the family support is also strong, although sailing is not in the Leggatt DNA: 'My parents seldom see me as I’m usually sailing round the world,' explains Leggatt who has just rounded Cape Horn for the sixth time. 'The whole family has been very supportive, but we’re not a sailing family and they always wonder why I do it,' he adds. 'My father and brother came sailing with me once and said never again!' says Leggatt of a storm-filled, family voyage from Cape Town to Walvis Bay, Namibia. 'Possibly sailing from the Cape of Storms to the Skeleton Coast wasn’t the best introduction for them!'

For the South African duo, the stopover in Cape Town was a turning point in their campaign: 'All our friends back in South Africa have enjoyed following Phillippa and Nick and are awestruck by what’s going on and their achievements,' says Johnny Hutton-Squire and while the South African press interest in Phesheya-Racing grew exponentially during their home-port stopover, so did the local support. 'We got all sorts of support from friends in the sailing industry who helped us with their time,' explains Nick Leggatt. 'Even old school mates turned out to support us by working on the boat or by providing equipment or supplies,' he adds. 'For example, Richard Allen of Buffet Olives supplied us with enough olives to last us around the world!'

This mix of family, social and corporate involvement is a cornerstone for many of the current and potential GOR teams: 'One of the good things is that it’s an affordable race and people can be a part of it,' says Phillippa Hutton-Squire, miming airborne speech marks around the word affordable. Her mother agrees: 'If ordinary families can put this sort of campaign together, hopefully it’ll be an inspiration and far more people will realise that this sort of adventure can be achieved without too much strain,' predicts Di Hutton-Squire.

This feature combines with a resurgence of interest in offshore racing in South Africa: 'The GOR and our entry in the race is the only offshore game in town for the past 13 years and one thing we hope to do is get more interest going for the next Global Ocean Race and offshore racing generally and from what we’ve heard, the current race is generating great interest,' confirms Leggatt. The involvement of Cape Town yachtsman, Adrian Kuttel, on the Leg 3 winner, Cessna Citation, and his successful publicity campaign also contributed to raising the profile of offshore racing in South Africa.

Meanwhile, with a fortnight to the start of Leg 4, the Hutton-Squire international shore crew will be kept busy until they return to South Africa over this weekend: 'The job list isn’t bad and I thought it would be a lot worse after sailing through the Southern Ocean,' says Phillippa Hutton-Squire. 'We sailed quite conservatively to get here so we didn’t have a massive job list and, so far in the race, we’ve been very lucky. Everyone has come to the party to help.'

T Clewring One DesignNaiadKilwell - 6

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr