Dutchman enters Portmao Global Ocean Race

Just when most people would be thinking about kicking back and easing into a more gentle way of life after a long and hard career, Dutch sailor Nico Budel is planning on fulfilling his lifelong dream of sailing alone around the world.

Budel, the oldest sailor in the Portimao Global Ocean Race, will be 69 when the start gun fires on October 12, but to him age is just a number. I plan to live to at least 100,” he says. “So there will be plenty of time for work but every now and then you need to take some time for fun and a solo circumnavigation is something I have been dreaming about my whole life. My dream will come true.”

Budel is no stranger to offshore sailing. He has raced very successfully in the OSTAR, a single-handed crash and bast fest across the North Atlantic winning his class in 2005. “That’s a tough race,” he says. “Sailing upwind is tough. I am looking forward to sailing downwind in the Portimao Global Ocean Race. It’s always more fun sailing downwind.” In addition to twice racing solo across the North Atlantic he has raced the double-handed Fastnet race six times, raced the AZAB to the Azores and back numerous times and competed in many lesser known, but no less tough shorthanded races in Europe.

For his trip around the world Budel has a proven boat. His Open 40, Hayai, has already completed two circumnavigations, first with designer/builder Viktor Yazekov during the 1998/99 Around Alone race and later with Danish sailor Jan Moller. “The boat is proven,” Budel says. “It is easy to sail and I feel it is very seaworthy. Also, it’s not too big for me. I can manage the boat very well.”

For more information, see the Portmao Race website. 

Pic: Nico Budel at the start of the ostar 2005 in ‘Haiyai’. Picture courtesy Jerry Freeman.