Press Date 8 May. - Steve White becomes the 13th man in the IMOCA Class.
The big news today certainly is the official entry of Steve White aboard Spirit of Weymouth in the IMOCA Class taking the number of IMOCA skippers to thirteen. Having completed his qualifying passage, the young Brit takes his place amongst a very impressive lineup of all the greatest names in singlehanded sailing with only four days remaining until the start on Sunday, 11th May at 1400 BST.
Steve White, 35, the latest addition to the IMOCA fleet in The Artemis Transat, admits he started sailing "by accident, with a friend who bought a boat but didn't have a tow bar on his car. I did, helped him out, sailed with him because he was nervous to go alone... and a couple of years later I found myself buying a 30 footer." But the big life-changing experience came in 1998, when Steve had a chance to round the Fastnet on a 67-ft boat in tough conditions. "We set off from Plymouth, and were blown off our boots by 35 - 40-knot winds, it was great. I drove home, quit my job and decided that the Vendée Globe was my goal. I had followed Christophe Auguin's race and it had fascinated me."
Then working in the classic car restoration business, Steve joined a boatyard and soon ended up in Pete Goss's team, building Team Philips and refitting the Aqua Quorum 50'. "I did some boat building, quite a few deliveries and started sailing more and more. In 1998, I joined Challenge Business (Sir Chay Blyth's company, organising RTW races for amateurs) where I trained the crews aboard 67-ft and 72-ft monohulls. I stayed there 4 years, and won the OSTAR in 2005 aboard Mike Plant's old 50', designed by Roger Martin... After that I bought Josh Hall's Gartmore, and since then we've been looking for sponsors. It's very strange for me to actually think I'm here in this fleet that gathers the best sailors in the world, and it took us a lot of effort to just reach the start... The ultimate goal is to find a major sponsor and to build a new boat for the 2012 Vendée: The Artemis Transat is the first major stepping stone for us."