French star signs upFour years ago Marc Thiercelin (right) was leading the Around Alone race when after rounding Cape Horn not far from where the Volvo Ocean Race boats are now, his yacht Somewhere dismasted. The French skipper was forced to put into the Falklands while his shore team scrabbled around trying to get a replacement flown out from France.
Clipper Ventures, organisers of this year's Around Alone race, have today annouced that Thiercelin will return to contend the Around Alone this year for its 20th anniversary. Thiercelin is the ninth skipper and third Frenchman to sign up in Class I of Around Alone, which departs from Newport R.I, on 15 September.
Thiercelin has worked for many years running a sailing school, and has also been a cabinet maker and a graphic artist for an advetising agency. Aside from the last Around Alone, in which he finished second, Thiercelin has also taken part in the last two Vendee Globes finishing second in 1996/7 behind Christophe Auguin and fourth last year. His boat Somewhere is a Groupe Finot design and the third sistership to Mike Golding's Ecover (the second being Gartmore). Like Ecover she has a swing keel and a rotating wingmast with deck spreaders.
Thiercelin himself is highly motivated to make amendment for the race four years ago. "I am definitely going to be back on the start line for the Around Alone. There's no other ultimate challenge short of a solo round the world yacht race and Around Alone is unique for its length, its rhythm between land and sea, and the ability for people the world over to experience first-hand the event from the inside. I’m working hard, both in France and abroad, to secure the sponsorship in order to purchase a competitive Open 60 to win the race."
Around Alone Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was excited to confirm Thiercelin's entry. "We are delighted that Marc has decided to enter Around Alone again. Marc is a tough and dedicated racer as his performance in the last race showed. His entry effectively throws down the gauntlet for the best of the world’s single-handed sailors to the coveted crown of solo competition."
To date French skippers have won Around Alone four times out of five with Italian Giovanni Soldini taking first prize in the 1998/9 event. What still remains unresolved is if there will be a British contender in class one...erm Mike?
Somewhere , showing her impressive deck spreaders..