Vendee Globe - First Polish skipper ready to race

Zbigniew Gutkowski - aka ‘Gutek’ and Energa - 2012 Vendee Globe
When the 2012 Vendee Globe gets underway on November 10th in Les Sables d’Olonne, there will be twenty skippers on the start line. Zbigniew Gutkowski - aka ‘Gutek’ - is the first Polish skipper ever to compete in the ‘Everest of the Seas’ since the creation of the race and he will fly the colours of Energa, the leader of the renewable energy market in Poland. Let's get to know him better.

Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski is the first Polish sailor ever to race solo around the world in an official competition. He finished two races round the globe, one crewed (The Race, 2000) and one solo (Velux 5 Oceans 2010-11). His outstanding performance in the latter, when he came second after overcoming keel damage and two serious injuries, made him known worldwide. He was awarded Poland's Sailor of the Year trophy for his achievement.

He is one of Poland's best known and most experienced sailors with a wealth of offshore and inshore racing. The 39-year-old skipper first honed his talents as a member of the Polish national sailing team, representing his nation in the 470 dinghy class from 1987 to 1995. He also spent several years campaigning state of the art 49er dinghies and was one of the most successful crews in Poland.

In 2000 Gutek turned his hand to offshore sailing and that year he was watch captain onboard Warta-Polpharma in The Race, the non-stop race around the world for multihulls. In 2005 he skippered the ORMA 60 Bonduelle in the Nokia Oops Cup. He also attempted to break the monohull record for a non-stop circumnavigation onboard the Volvo 60 Bank BPH (formerly ASSA ABLOY), but damage forced the crew to give up at Cape Town after 9,500 miles.

Participating in the Vendée Globe is the next step in this outstanding skipper's career who is already very proud to be part of the adventure and would be ‘very happy to be back in les Sables d'Olonne in less than 100 days ‘.

Vendee Globe website