Brian Thompson and Will Oxley to co-skipper Open 60 Pindar in Transat Jacques Vabre 28/9/07

Pindar, leading British print and electronic media company, prolific supporters of British sailing, today announced that Brian Thompson will skipper the brand-new Open 60 Pindar in the upcoming Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) transatlantic race.

Thompson, who joins the Pindar Ocean Racing team as full time skipper, will be joined by Australian sailor Will Oxley as his co-skipper for the race which begins on 3 November from Le Havre, France.

Pindar, the brand-new Open 60, is back on the water following her dismasting in her debut race during Skandia Cowes Week. The fracture has been repaired by removing the damaged section, inserting an internal sleeve and then relaminating the mast. Following trials in the Channel, Thompson and Oxley will undertake their 1,000-mile qualifying sail required for the Transat Jacques Vabre next week.

Thompson is a vastly experienced and successful offshore racer who holds an incredible 25 world and course records. Having clocked up more multihull and swing keel sailing miles than any other Briton, Thompson joins Pindar Ocean Racing with immense knowledge and experience within the Open 60 class, leaving him well placed to campaign this state-of-the-art racing machine in her debut offshore race.

Thompson, 45, from Cowes, Isle of Wight commented: “I am delighted to be joining the Pindar Ocean Racing team at this exciting time, and to be racing Pindar, one of the most hi-tech racing machines on the extremely competitive IMOCA 60 circuit. We are confident in the repairs made to the mast in the last month, and will have given it a rigorous test by the start of the TJV.”

He continued: “I departed Offshore Challenges earlier this year, turning down the prospect of racing in the inaugural Barcelona World Race due to family commitments and the birth of my baby son in June. The opportunity to take part in a transatlantic race of approximately two weeks duration, at this time, rather than a three-month race is a much better fit for my family. I have been talking to Pindar for some time now, and I am really excited about racing the new Open 60, she’s one of a kind. I am looking forward to again competing with Will Oxley, with whom I have sailed the TJV with previously in 2005, aboard Skandia, and the Oryx Quest on Doha 2006. We are itching to get onto the start line and prove what this great new boat can do.”

Will Oxley, 42, from Queensland, Australia, is an extremely experienced offshore racing sailor as well as a qualified marine scientist. Primarily known as a navigator, Oxley has competed in three round-the-world races, and has clocked up over 200,000 nautical miles during his career to date. Will also has considerable experience as a shore-based weather router for several Open 60 campaigns and for Swedish America’s Cup challenger Victory Challenge in the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Andrew Pindar, Chairman of the Pindar Group commented: “We are delighted to welcome Brian as skipper of Pindar Ocean Racing’s new Open 60. Brian has been a friend of Pindar for many years now, sailing with us at Antigua Sailing Week for the past two years. We have been talking to him about joining us for some time, and the right opportunity has now arisen for him to join our Open 60 campaign.”

The 2007 Transat Jacques Vabre Race starts on the 3 November from Le Havre, France, and finishes in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, approximately two weeks later. This will be Pindar’s fourth yacht to enter the TJV, having previously raced in the 1999, 2001 and 2003 editions of the race. Mike Sanderson, ISAF World Sailor of the Year and Team Origin’s Team Director, who has been involved in the design and build of Pindar from day one, remains a technical consultant to Pindar. The shore team is comprised of Boat Captain Nick Black, Cam Marshall, Andy Dore, Hadleigh Prendergast and Alistair Green.