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Around Alone

Van Liew Takes Dominant Lead in First Week of Around Alone

Record Setting Pace Takes Class II Fleet by Storm

mardi 24 septembre 2002Redaction SSS [Source RP]

Seven days of solitude on the high seas has been all work and no play for American Brad Van Liew. He takes his job very seriously and his job is to go fast. Sailing Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, he has covered more than 1,500 miles stretching across the northern Atlantic. He is heading for Torbay, England, the first stop in the fiercely contested Around Alone solo yacht race.

The latest poll at 03:00 UTC today places Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America 412.36 miles ahead of his closest rival in Class II, which is designated for yachts 40-50 feet in length. The tail end of Class I, where boats of 60 feet length run, is merely 77 miles ahead. It seems Van Liew has created a class of his own. In a discussion with Van Liew this morning via Iridium satellite he was humble about his tremendous performance thus far and happy that Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is performing at peak levels.

"I’ve raced against this boat before," said Van Liew. "This race is not over. I’ve been excelling in the perfect downwind conditions, which is what I would expect considering the wide beam of Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. Although my standing might look impenetrable now, remember that going upwind I can lose as much as 175 miles per day to the competition. It’s all about balance and taking what I can get when the conditions allow."

Van Liew is expecting headwinds in the coming days, which will create a very uncomfortable environment aboard the race boat. 40 knots of wind on the nose will entice Van Liew to sail as close to course as possible and he will be slamming into the waves at high speed. The wide beamed carbon fiber hull of Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America will respond like a drum, plowing through building waves and creating a violent sound and motion onboard. These conditions make sleeping, eating and weather interpretation at the computer exceedingly difficult.

Van Liew nearly toppled the 50-foot distance record for monohulls this week when he covered an amazing 332.4 miles in one 24-hour period. The world record stands at 333.6 miles, achieved by Class II winner J.P. Mouligne during the Around Alone of 1998-99.

To track Brad’s progress and to get daily updates from the Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America yacht, please visit Brad will be feeding the site with diary entries and photos taken aboard the yacht. Graphic depictions and footage of Brad and his adventures at sea are available upon request.

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