Spirit of Weymouth. A race against time 09/08/07

Spirit of Weymouth. A race against time

Spirit of Weymouth is a very apt name for Steve White’s Open 60, it is full to the brim with enthusiasm and courage. The yacht was originally built in 2002 and was the oldest in the fleet racing for the Artemis Challenge at Skandia Cowes Week. Steve knew he didn’t have a chance of beating all of the new, modern, high budget Open 60s lined up on the start line but he is extremely ambitious as he explains;

“In February 1998, I did my first Fastnet, standing on the dock in Falmouth after the trip, I swore, there and then that I was going to sail for a living and I was going to do the Vendee Globe. I packed my job in and started to work in small dockyards in Weymouth. I sailed all the time; racing three nights a week, passage racing, deliveries, the lot.

Eventually, I got a job with Pete Goss and that led me onto a job with Challenge Business and after four years and over 100,000 miles in all sorts of weather. I became a skipper.”

In 2005 Steve left Challenge business to pursue his ambitions in solo racing and entered the 2005 OSTAR in an Open 50 winning the monohull class.

Steve used his success as a springboard into the Open 60 Class. He purchased Josh Hall’s old Open 60 and went on the sponsorship trail, Bristol-based software company, Symmetry,have sponsored Steve but the project requires more funding.

Steve was very open about the personal problems associated with securing investment into the project, especially with four children to support;

“At the moment we are running a small business, Kim, my wife gives me a tremendous amount of support. She is a pretty keen sailor and it was great to have our sponsors and friends out on the water today. It is important to have that support because you spend so much time away from home. Some people ask me, how I manage with a family of four but without them, the whole campaign would be hollow; there would be nobody to share it with. At the moment, we are surviving by means of corporate hospitality, something I think we are very good at. It is our own campaign which puts a different light on why we invite paying guests on board.”

TV presenter Johnny Ball, enjoyed his time on board Spirit of Weymouth.

Steve White continued;

“For me, the quest to do the Vendée Globe has driven absolutely everything. It has caused me to re-mortgage my house several times and to give up a couple of good jobs. To get to the start line Les Sables D’Olonne is my goal and that is a race against time.”

Steve White’s next race is the Rolex Fastnet, two handed, with his winning OSTAR partner David Melville. Louay Habib will be on board as media correspondent.

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