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First Kiwi Sailor to tackle the ‘Everest of the Seas’

First Kiwi Sailor to tackle the ‘Everest of the Seas’

A New Zealand sailor is set to become the first Kiwi ever to take part in one of the world’s most challenging solo sailing events.

Auckland’s Conrad Colman will leave France’s west coast on 6 November to take part in the renowned solo non-stop sailing race known as the Vendée Globe .

The 32 year old said he was proud to be the first New Zealander in the race. “It’s up there with the Volvo Ocean Race and the America’s Cup as one of the world’s pinnacle sailing events.”

Conrad’s desire to race in the Vendée Globe was first piqued in 2008 when he volunteered for a small team in the weeks before the start. Since then he has worked tirelessly toward creating his own entry.

Conrad has skippered two races around the world, including one victory overall, and completed five solo transatlantic crossings. Spending so much at time at sea has sharpened Conrad's devotion to environmental protection, inspiring him to convert his racing yacht to be powered entirely by renewable sources of energy in an attempt to be the first sailor to complete the race without burning fossil fuels.

"Growing up listening to Sir Peter Blake's stories from the oceans gave me a taste for adventure, combined with New Zealand's history as a clean green country has inspired me to combine these two elements in this racing campaign. Even if the Vendée Globe is a race, raw adventure is an essential part of its DNA and I am proud to carry the flag for New Zealand, especially with an innovative, clean boat that carries the values of the country around the world," says Conrad.

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Counting down the days till he departs, Conrad says he is still looking for sponsorship.

“Ocean racing is a professional sport, with companies as diverse as banks, butchers and bakers using this race to promote themselves in France's biggest sporting event, with a bigger impact than even the internationally renowned Tour de France cycling race. More than two million fans will visit the race village in the weeks before the start and millions more log on from all round the world to follow the race that will beam back exciting videos from the wildest oceans during the three month race.”

Despite being experienced, multinational and bilingual in French, Conrad has struggled to find a corporate backer for his innovative project and is reaching out to the New Zealand business community to find a company that can benefit from this unique platform with unprecedented international exposure.

"Previously, companies like Fisher and Paykel, ENZA and Steinlager have used ocean racing campaigns to gain exposure internationally but budgets in the Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup has largely moved out of the range of NZ companies. My campaign is thus uniquely positioned to provide international exposure with a price and image that befits New Zealand companies.”

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