Solo sailing's new star?

James Boyd speaks to BT winner Conrad Humphreys about his Vendee plans
Conrad Humphreys came into the public eye in June last year when he won the BT Global Challenge as skipper of LG Flatron, but his plans for a third circumnavigation are more ambitious still: to a build a new boat in which to win the 2004 Vendee Globe. Humphrey's BT win came as little surprise for those who know Humphreys' background. Of all the skippers taking part he had considerably more oceanic racing experience having got most of a Whitbread round the world race under his belt aboard the unfunded Ukrainian entry Odessa in 1993/4. The following year while completing his degree in Ocean Science and Meteorolgy in Plymouth, Humphreys skippered the winning team in the Student Nationals. That year his team came fourth at the Student Worlds in Marseilles, won Cowes Week and came second at Cork Week. This team included 420 National Champion Dave Lens with Nick Pearson on bow, who has since gone on to join GBR Challenge. Humphreys says that this campaign was also significant as it was his first experience of running a team and finding sponsorship. Since the BT Global Challenge the 29 year old from Plymouth has been working out how to make the move back into professional sailing. "The ultimate aim was to do well in that event," he says. "You need to win it to get a chance to step form it". While considering his options Humphreys has become smitten with Open 60 class. "I sailed with Mike [Golding] on the EDS Atlantic Challenge. It blew me away. It confirmed that that was the class I wanted to go into". He says that the budgets in the Open 60 class aren't that out of control and adds that he was also attracted by the comraderie among the skippers and how they