19-year-old Oscar Mead signs up for Velux 5 Oceans

Southampton-based sailor Oscar Mead has announced his entry in the 2010 Velux 5 Oceans race, a solo sprint around the world in five stages, totalling 30,000 miles. Aged 19, Oscar is the youngest ever competitor in the Velux 5 Oceans – or indeed any other – round the world race.

The teenager came to prominence last year when, at just 18 years old, he became the youngest ever competitor in the OSTAR. He took 22 days to complete the classic 3,000-mile course in a J/105 Juneau. He more than held his own in the 31-boat fleet, finishing seventh on the water and sixth overall.

‘Racing across the Atlantic was one thing but going round the world in the Velux 5 Oceans is an altogether bigger challenge,’ said Mead. ‘There are a lot of sailors trying to break records for being the youngest to achieve certain goals but that is not me. I plan to enter the Velux 5 Oceans not as an adventure but as a race which I will try to win.’

Race chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has faith in Mead. ‘I know from entering the race myself how hard it is. However Oscar is a very talented young sailor, as he proved last year when he raced across the Atlantic in the OSTAR. He has a huge amount of potential and I am delighted he will be taking part.’

Mead was born in Hong Kong and started match racing Wanderers with his father in 1999, aged eight. He was hugely influenced by the success of Dame Ellen Macarthur in the 2000-2001 Vendee Globe race and began ‘designing’ his own Open 60. He finally got his big break offshore onboard the 76-footer Boracay in the Hong Kong to Manila race. Not even 48-hours of seasickness could dissuade him from offshore racing.

To take part in the Velux 5 Oceans, he is taking a sabbatical from his marine architecture course at Southampton University. He has yet to finish designing his Open 60 and is in the process of buying one.