Ocean racing legend Ross Field and his son Campbell are to race round the world together


After a six-minute slow spin cycle, Ross and Campbell Field’s Class 40 passed the class 180° inversion test today in Lymington, righting itself from upside down in six minutes. The photo of the start of the test is shown below.

The father and son team are entering Josh Hall’s Global Ocean Race, a two-handed round the world race for Class 40s which starts from Mallorca in September.

The addition of this world class pair of Kiwi racers is a great boost to the race. Besides them, there are 18 other possible teams, of which 15 are likely starters.

The two come are best known for their Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race backgrounds. Ross Field is a Whitbread legend. He raced on NZL Enterprise in the 1986/7 Whitbread, was Peter Blake’s right-hand man on the all-conquering maxi ketch Steinlager 2 in 1989/90 and won the race as skipper of Whitbread 60 Yamaha in 1993/4.

His son has kept up the family tradition: Campbell was the shore manager for the Telefonica team in the 2008/9 Volvo Ocean Race.

Ross has also been a keen short-handed racer, and has done several Melbourne-Osaka races. But although the two have sailed together all their lives, they’ve never raced offshore two-up.

The Fields bought this Class 40 from Chilean owners. The Verdier design did Josh Hall’s previous round the world race for the class and they fancied its reaching and running potential.

What’s the attraction of the Global Ocean Race, I asked Ross? “I really like the concept of the Class 40,” he replies, “and I’ve done a lot of two-handed sailing. The Class 40s are not ultra expensive to run. There are just two crew and we’ll only have one guy to help us in port and we’ll do the rest.

“The reason there are 15 boats is that there aren’t huge budgets, and it makes it attractive to sponsor a race with that size of fleet rather than five, like there are in the Volvo Ocean Race.”

Campbell adds: “This has got all the components of any other racing yacht, but everything’s smaller and lighter. It’s quite refreshing to take the mainsail and walk down the dock with it on your own rather than having to organise and co-ordinate five people to do it.”

“Obviously the scale is completely different to the VOR, but most of all because with only two people the costs are reduced by such a vast amount. It’s a nice thing about this event that you only have two people to worry about.”

Although their boat only arrived from Chile by ship three weeks ago, the ingrained professionalism of Field & Son means they’re already well organised. “The food’s organised, the safety’s organised. We only have to go sailing,” says Ross.

Neither of them has ever sailed on a Class 40, so they’ve yet to discover their new boat’s quirks. They set off on a 2,000-mile qualifier on 5 July and in August will be doing the Rolex Fastnet Race with two more crew, intending to show their form in the sizeable Class 40 fleet.

The photo at the top shows three generation of the Fields: Ross on the left and Campbell holding his eight-month old son Fraser. Photos courtesy of Mark Lloyd, Lloyd Images.

180° test