Velux 5 Oceans skipper Van Liew's grand welcome

Brad Van Liew
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The Velux 5 Oceans has been a grueling eight months for American solo sailor Brad Van Liew, braving the elements at sea alone and pushing hard to bring home a win for the USA.

Although the Velux 5 Oceans race pits sailors against each other in the ultimate solo challenge of racing around the globe alone, the event is far from lacking the element of teamwork.

Van Liew will be welcomed to his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina this week with an abundance of fans and a notable new supporting sponsor. The South Carolina State Ports Authority has agreed to join Van Liew's campaign as an Associate Sponsor.

'The South Carolina Ports Authority is proud to have such a remarkable platform to communicate the vast assets of our state,' said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. 'Our ports are diverse, providing jobs for 260,000 men and women while also offering tremendous recreational and educational opportunities.' Last year, South Carolina's ports ranked eighth nationally in cargo value with $50 billion in goods moving across the docks.

Since announcing his campaign to compete and win the race, Van Liew has been buoyed by the support of the South Carolina community, and in particular that of the maritime industry. His tired race boat was hauled by Detyens Shipyard last year in preparation for the Velux 5 Oceans event. Various parts were machined by CMMC in North Charleston and Charleston Rigging helped with equipment to complete the refit and make Le Pingouin a winning race machine.

There has been no shortage of community enthusiasm for Van Liew's attempt to be the first American to ever complete three solo circumnavigation races around the globe and represent the Palmetto State in the international community of ocean racing.

'After 20,000 miles on the ocean I am really looking forward to sailing into Charleston Harbor and seeing the familiar landscape of home,' said Van Liew from 31 degrees North. 'The South Carolina State Ports Authority is a vital part of our community, and as I race across the Atlantic to the finish line and then visits ports in Europe and the USA, I look forward to sharing the values and maritime excellence of South Carolina with the world.'

Van Liew has competed in this epic solo race twice before aboard 50-foot race boats, taking third place as an underdog entry in 1999 and winning first place in his class in 2003 with a convincing cumulative lead of 21 days. The Velux 5 Oceans race of 2010-11 marks his first race on a 60-foot race boat and the introduction of the ECO-60 class. Each competitor is challenged with not only sailing around the world alone, but also showcasing sustainable practices that care for the delicate ocean environment.

The Velux 5 Oceans started from La Rochelle in France on October 17, 2010 and features five ocean sprints. After heading from La Rochelle, France to Cape Town, South Africa, the fleet sailed across the vast Southern Indian Ocean to Wellington, New Zealand. From there, the racing yachts sailed to Punta del Este, Uruguay, and are now headed up the Atlantic to Charleston, South Carolina before returning across the ocean to France to the finish.

Velux 5 Oceans