When does putting a cow aloft make sense? When your sponsorship is about to end


Alex Thomson’s been wakeboarding behind Hugo Boss . Mike Golding’s been doing the iShares Cup. Dee Caffari and Sam Davies are about to have a crack at the Round Britain and Ireland record.

In the absence of any big organised event for IMOCA 60s until the Transat Jacques Vabre in November, the teams have been scratching their heads to think of other ways to create publicity for themselves and their sponsors. I like this simple idea from the Groupe Bel team: skipper Kito de Pavant at the helm and the cheery ‘La Vache Qui Rit’ up the mast.

This is a fretful time for all the teams as most of the sponsorship contracts that took them to the Vendée Globe run out later this year. The prospects for many look pretty shaky, and Britain’s solo sailors are all facing uncertain times. Mike Golding and Dee Caffari, to take just two, are coming to the end of their big sponsorship deals.

The only confirmed continuation among all the IMOCA teams is Jean-Pierre Dick’s Paprec-Virbac. The veterinary medicines company is family owned and will be funding a new IMOCA 60 design by VPLP/Guillaume Verdier for next year’s Barcelona World Race.

Closer to home, the vinyls are off Mike Golding’s IMOCA 60. He is racing in the iShares Cup under Ecover colours but he tells me that long-running deal with them for the 60 is at an end.

However, Golding confirms that he is aiming for the 2012 Vendée Globe and is looking for a new sponsor. He might even do the two-handed Barcelona World Race next year if it fits in with a company’s objectives.

Sadly, too, the word going round is that Dee Caffari’s sponsor Aviva, the rebranded insurance and savings company that declared a big loss earlier this year, has said it is not going to be renewing her sponsorship when it runs out this autumn.

Meanwhile, the hoped for deal to get Bahrain to take over the Pindar sailing team stumbled after the Vendée Globe. The shore and support team were all laid off, the boat is on the hard and skipper Brian Thompson is busily trying to revive an arrangement with Bahrain to continue.

The management of the Artemis campaign was taken away from designer Simon Rogers’s company and is now in the hands of Mark Turner’s OC Group. The project will continue until the Transat Jacques Vabre two-hander in November.

There is no word of what will happen after that but if anyone can inveigle the fund management company to stay in sailing in one shape or another, and provide a less embarrassing return for them, surely it will be Turner’s gang.