Liz Wardley - let down by sponsor

Back to square one for the Papua New Guinean's Vendee Globe campaign

Tuesday April 17th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

In February, Feeling Sailing Team, the racing team of Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty, officially announced Liz Wardley's participation in this autumn's Vendée Globe. Unfortunately, the result has since turned into a nightmare...

Despite having contracts in place, the sponsor has not fulfilled its commitments, no funding has been forthcoming, and this has led Liz Wardley to terminate the contract with the sponsor.

With seven months to go before the start of Vendee Globe, the sad reality has struck home for Liz Wardley: "The project is dead, I am no longer doing the Vendée Globe. I was offered a dream and I believed in it and I worked on it 24/7 for three months. So from the end back to starting from scratch, on paper it is impossible now to set up a project, but I'll try anyway!"

"Back in February I had very serious doubts about the credibility of this project. The Sensation Sailing Team waited for two months in vain for the first payments to allow us to acquire the boat. Each time, the representative of the sponsor gave us a good excuse for the delay. This press conference to announce the sponsor had been set. Contractually, I therefore not allowed to say anything. Since then nothing has changed, so I terminated the contract that bound me to the sponsor after a formal warning to them to meet their commitments which had no effect. For this reason I am today explaining the situation and expressing my anger.

"For me, that episode is finally over. We are seven months from the start and we have no money and no boat! The money promised was not paid. We were lied to, and that's all. I say "we" because it is the same for Jean-Baptiste and his company Sensation Sailing Team. I do not hold them accountable: they also had every reason to believe it was true. Now, as I said, the contracts that bound us to the sponsor have been terminated.

"So I feel furious and a sense of injustice... When I dismasted during my attempt to sail around the world [in 2009 aboard the Sol'Océans 52 one design], I had a similar reaction. The difference is that when you dismast you cannot help but blame yourself, your technique or, at worse, blame the elements. That's part of the game, but here the game was distorted by cheating! The sense of injustice is huge.

"Last December, before this story began I was fully involved in my project to cross the Atlantic in a canoe that I had aimed to to try the end of 2012. The boat was under construction and I had begun to develop partnerships. So I stopped everything for almost four months. Today I can no longer restart construction of the canoe and that project is no longer feasible in the time frame."

So it is back to the Vendee Globe. "I know I am starting from scratch and trying to set up a project in such a short time is surely not reasonable or even possible, but I'll try anyway, firstly because the challenge taking on the impossible is my thing. And then the Vendée Globe is an adventure. 30 years ago, nobody thought it was possible to race around the world but now the Vendee Globe has become the biggest race in the world. Finally, while my dream has been broken once already for this Vendée Globe, even if it's crazy, I will not give anyone the right to stop me from dreaming again...

"Up until late June, I will do everything to try to find myself a partner to finance the charter of a boat. I know one is available and ready to go. If you do it, I will have to rush. I will try to qualify during the summer to be ready for 10 November. So I am therefore officially announcing the launch of my project Vendee Globe 2012: Liz Wardley 2012."

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