Stanmore-Major and Chalk to line up in Velux 5 Oceans race

Two British skippers have declared their intentions to take part in the Velux 5 Oceans race, which starts in La Rochelle, France on October 17.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, chairman of the Velux 5 Oceans, unveiled Chris Stanmore-Major, 32, and Simon Chalk, 37, at a special event at Cowes Week.

Not since Sir Robin became the first person to singlehandedly circumnavigate the world in the 1969 Golden Globe race, has a British skipper won a solo around-the-world race, but Stanmore-Major and Chalk will aim to rectify that in the 30,000-mile event against an international fleet.

(pictured above left) has just returned from ten months at sea, after skippering Qingdao in the Clipper Round The World Race and this will be his first major solo race.

He said: ‘It’s a big step up for me and a quick turnaround from the Clipper Round the World Race, but it’s what I have wanted to be involved in for a long time and I am still in race mode.

‘The crazy sleep patterns and relentless work now seem normal. Solo sailing is certainly new territory but that is the challenge.

‘Everything comes down to the individual and if something goes wrong there is nowhere to hide – it’s just me, the boat and the ocean.’

Chalk (pictured above right) took part in the 1996 BT Global Challenge and in 2003 he became the first Briton to row solo across the Indian Ocean, later becoming the first person to row it twice. He holds nine Guinness World Records in ocean rowing.

He said: ‘I am delighted to be taking part in the Velux 5 Oceans. This is a great opportunity to extend my ocean experience, take on a new challenge and compete against some of the world’s best sailors.’

Both will race in the Eco 60 class, which re-uses Open 60s that were launched before 2003.

Stanmore-Major will sail Saga Insurance, the boat used by Sir Robin in the last Velux 5 Oceans race, with Chalk sailing Ocean Planet, which previously competed in the 2002/03 5 Oceans and the 2004/05 Vendée Globe.

Sir Robin said: ‘Chris and Simon are fantastic yachtsmen who have more than proven their sailing capabilities. It is great to have two British skippers in the race and maybe one of them can be the first Briton to win a solo round the world race since I did in 1969.’