Brad gets the Tommy treatment

Success for the USA's leading solo sailor

Wednesday May 15th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

He and wife Meaghan have worked liked demons, hocked everything to buy one of the hottest Open 50s on the planet, had their first child and now after years of perseverance and rejection, Brad van Liew and his team have succeeded in getting sponsorship that will allow them to take part in this September's Around Alone.

Designer Tommy Hilfiger announced today that Tommy Hilfiger USA, Inc. will sponsor van Liew's American entry in Around Alone and will rename the boat Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America yacht.

"Brad is the United States' premier solo sailor and we are very proud and extremely excited about this opportunity to support him," said Hilfiger. "It takes hard work, resourcefulness, perseverance and courage to succeed. Brad and the Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America team personify these qualitiesand are an embodiment of the American dream."

The nautical spirit of Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America is reflected in Hilfiger's clothing lines in cut, fabric and color. The signature red, white and blue Hilfiger logo itself is based on nautical flags.

Van Liew, 34, who is based in Charleston, South Carolina (having moved there recently from LA) finished third in class two in the last race, sailing a boat that was considerably slower than the first and second placed boats in his class. In fact the boat he will be campaigning in Around Alone this time round is the boat which came second - and one of the fastest Open 50s on the planet - Mike Garside's former Magellan Alpha.

Van Liew had hoped to build a new Alan Andrews-designed Open 60 for the event but sponsorship was not forthcoming in time. Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America will now be moved to New York as Van Liew prepares for the event.

"Tommy Hilfiger is a classic American designer known the world over for his quality and style," said Van Liew. "I'm excited about this partnership because we share many traits as a strong and dedicated all-American team. We will proudly fly the Tommy Hilfiger colors."

Brad, the new 'Tommy Boy', has a background in keelboat racing along the east coast and is related to the famous Johnstone family of J-Boats fame. He is one of the more colourful characters in Around Alone, being the person who taught Tom Cruise how to fly a plane aside from being a past rodeo champion. Clipper Ventures may not have a British entry in Around Alone, but in van Liew they will have a great asset for the US.

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