Photo: Billy Black

Velux 5 Oceans on the silver screen

The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud in cinemas from 30 July

Monday August 2nd 2010, Author: Tim Kelly, Location: United States

The Velux 5 Oceans has hit the big screen with a starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster based around sailing. The Velux 5 Oceans was chosen to be the round-the-world yacht race central to the film Charlie St Cloud, starring teen heartthrob Zac Efron, released in US cinemas on 30 July.

The film is an adaptation of the best-selling Ben Sherwood novel The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud, in which the eponymous hero falls in love with a young sailor days before she is due to go to sea in a challenging solo round the world yacht race. Film producers chose to base the film on the 35,000-mile Velux 5 Oceans race – the oldest regularly-held singlehanded race around world – for its rich heritage spanning 28 years and reputation as one of the toughest sporting challenges known to man.

Fittingly the yacht used in the film is skipper Brad Van Liew's old Open 50 Tommy Hilfiger. Van Liew sailed the yacht, now called Gryphon Solo, to victory in class two of the 2003 race, winning every leg. The yacht will appear in the film with full Velux 5 Oceans branding on its hull and sails. The timing couldn’t be better, as Charleston-based skipper Van Liew is once again returning to the race, which sets out from La Rochelle on October 17 this year.

Van Liew said: “The Open 50 race boat used in the movie is very special for me as I sailed it around the planet alone in the 2002-3 Around Alone (now the Velux 5 Oceans). She was my faithful companion for nine months of pretty intense racing, and the ultimate 1st place victory we achieved together.” He added: “I am excited that the actors and production team of the movie are interested in the authentic history of the boat and also the sport of ocean racing.”

Velux 5 Oceans Race Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “It is a real privilege for us that the makers of Charlie St Cloud decided to feature our race in their film. The Velux 5 Oceans is known as The Ultimate Solo Challenge for a reason – it really is the pinnacle of what a person can push themselves to do. It is really exciting to be associated with a major Hollywood picture, and we are delighted that it will bring the world of ocean racing to a whole new audience. Maybe in four years time we'll have a totally new breed of skippers who were inspired to take to the seas after watching this film.”

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