Flushed with success, having won in the Open 50 class in the Transat Jacques Vabre race (Le Havre - Salvador), Alex Bennett has signed up for his first round the world yacht race
Flushed with success, having won in the Open 50 class in the Transat Jacques Vabre race (Le Havre – Salvador), Alex Bennett has signed up for his first round the world yacht race, Around Alone, becoming the 27th sailor to do so. The Around Alone sets sail from Newport, Rhode Island on 15th September 2002.
The One Dream, One Mission skipper Bennett, at only 25 years of age was the youngest skipper in the monohull fleet. Along with Australian co-skipper, Paul Larsen, the two young gladiators, finished the race within 2 days of the Open 60 Winner, Sill Plein Fruit (Jourdain/Le Cleac’h), and 7 hours ahead of their nearest rival, Saving (Le Youdeac/ Bacave). One competitor in the Open 50 fleet has yet to finish.
The speed of Bennett’s bright yellow Adrian Thompson designed boat and the skill of this young sailor has rocked the Open 50 world. Considering the entire suit of sails on board One Dream One Mission had already sailed nearly 40,000 miles and the winches have done nearly 150,000 miles, the performance of both the boat and the young skipper can only be described as exceptional. One Dream, One Mission led from the start and only relinquished their lead to the newer Open 50, Saving, once during the 4,340 nautical mile race.
Bennett, spoke of his dream to win the Open 50 class in Around Alone, the longest race for any individual in any sport, throwing down the gauntlet to his fellow competitors:
“The Around Alone is just the kind of event that appeals to me. A massive physical and mental challenge for the sailors, it provides an ideal platform for my future sailing ambitions. The race takes competitors across some of the most inhospitable places on the planet and with the aid of modern technology we will be able to bring the action into the homes of millions – making it an event not to be missed!”
Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is delighted to hear the news of Bennett’s entry into Around Alone. “Britain is now producing a new crop of single handed sailors. They are young, aggressive, highly competitive and increasingly successful. Alex Bennett is one of the leaders in this group and his success in the Transat Jacques Vabre is a clear indication of more to come. We are delighted to have him enter Around Alone. A strong British contingent in the race can only encourage more to follow where these excellent young sailors are leading,” Knox-Johnston said.
On hearing of Alex’s signing up for Around Alone, fellow British sailor Ellen MacArthur, commented:
“I think that the Around Alone will provide Alex with a fantastic opportunity to both further his already extensive experience, and build on what is an impressive set of race results. The Around Alone is a special race, which takes the skippers through incredible conditions… I have no doubt in my mind that he will live every second of it with passion and enthusiasm.”
Bennett, a team member in Pete Goss’s Team Philips campaign in The Race, has competed in solo races before, coming fifth in the Mini Transat race in 1999. His solo sail home to Plymouth on One Dream One Mission will count as his qualifying race for Around Alone. Perhaps the hardest task still awaits Alex, fast becoming the professional sailors’ nightmare, the trawl for sponsorship.