Steve White back in UK

The man they dubbed ‘the underdog’ Steve White has arrived back on English shores having finished his incredible journey around the world in the Vendee Globe, solo, non-stop sailing race on 26 February in 109 days.

Steve is famous for having completed the race with very little sponsorship and no professional team behind him. In fact he had to re-mortgage his house four times to make the attempt possible, and at the last minute anonymous donors provided the shortfall to enable him to compete. Their only request was that the boat would carry the name ‘Toe in the Water’, to raise attention for the charity of the same name which helps rehabilitate injured servicemen through competitive sailing.

It was fitting then that having sailed around the world alone, one of those injured servicemen, Chris Herbert, joined Steve for his journey home from France, where he had to remain with his boat for seven days after the race finished.

Steve was greeted in Gosport by other British skippers who had competed in the race, two who had been successful: Dee Caffari, and Brian Thompson and another who had been amongst the 18 out of 30 starters who failed to finish, Alex Thomson. All these skippers had the support of large race campaigns behind them, so are more than aware of Steve’s huge achievement.

Steve said: ‘It’s very nice to be back in England after so many months away. To be greeted by all the guys was really touching, especially as only someone who’s attempted the Vendee Globe can grasp the sheer magnitude of the race. I’m really pleased to be back with my family and looking forward to a night in my own bed. ‘ Looking to the future he added; ‘ The work doesn’t stop here though, really it’s only just started and as I get planning for the next Vendee Globe in 2012 our thoughts will turn to securing sponsors and building a new boat.’

Chris Herbert said: ‘It was a real honour to be asked to sail back to England with Steve, he’s an absolute inspiration and a great ambassador for our charity. Steve makes you realise that with hard graft, almost anything is achievable.’

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