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Milestone Achieved: Official Candidate for Vendée Globe 2024!

We are extremely excited to announce that Oliver Heer Ocean Racing is now an official candidate for the Vendée Globe 2024, which is a significant milestone and a huge achievement for the small start-up team, who was established in January 2022. After 18 months of demanding work and schedule, the team is now an Official Candidate for the 2024 Vendée Globe sailing race but are still looking to secure a title partner to support the team through to summer 2025 and the end of the race!

Widely acknowledged to be one of the toughest sailing challenges on the planet and nick-named the ‘Everest of the Seas’, the extreme solo sailing race, “The Vendée Globe” requires skippers to sail almost 50,000km in a complete circumnavigation of the globe. It is sailed solo, non-stop and with no external help or support. It takes courage, perseverance, resilience, and passion to compete.  

Competitors will race for up to 3 months, completely alone, through some of the most extreme conditions imaginable. At times, sailors will be in such remote locations that they will be closer to astronauts in the International Space Station than to any other human on this planet.   

Sailing alone in such isolation, facing storms and huge seas in the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Ocean, drifting through the doldrums at the equator and dodging icebergs round the southern ice-cap is extremely dangerous. All potential competitors are therefore subject to rigorous qualifying criteria, which involves taking part in and finishing several pre-determined transatlantic races within a certain time period.

The Vendée Globe organisers have confirmed that the team “Oliver Heer Ocean Racing” has now completed the qualifying criteria and secured an official entry to take part in the next edition of this iconic race. Due to start on 10 November 2024, Ollie will be the new kid on the block, and will race against many larger, well-established, and highly funded teams, who have previously competed the race alongside new teams who will face the challenge for the first time. 


Ollie Heer, Skipper, comments: 

“This is a huge milestone for me and the whole team. Competing in the Vendee Globe has been my dream since I was a child and to be the first Swiss-German representative will be a real honour. There is still a long way to go for an up-and-coming team like us to get to the start line, we need to secure more funding and keep up the momentum and determination we have demonstrated in our inaugural year. I am certain we will achieve our goal, but it is not easy! If it were easy, everyone would do it!” 


Being granted an entry demonstrates much more than just Ollie’s sailing credentials. The skeleton team have already faced and overcome significant financial and logistical challenges. After a start-line collision in the Route du Rhum in 2022, Ollie had to return to shore for emergency hull repairs before he could rejoin the race. Following an agonising wait, while continuing the solo race in a totally different weather pattern to his fellow competitors, the race jury determined that Ollie had not been at fault and therefore granted extra time for him to finish and be able to claim it as a qualifying race.  

From the early days of the campaign Ollie and his English wife have managed all aspects of the campaign, and decided they needed to be based in France so they could become part of the wider IMOCA family and establish the network of contacts needed to support them longer term. They relocated to a new home in Port La Foret, France near to the boat yard where several IMOCA teams are based and quickly recruited a small close-knit team of experienced boat crew. 

Each race has qualifying criteria of its own and a demanding schedule of obligations requiring detailed co-ordination. Theresa Heer, Operations Director and Oliver’s wife, has over 15 years’ experience managing complex and high-profile events for global organisations – which has enabled her to lead the team coordination smoothly.  

There is also the business side of running an extreme sailing team. It is not just a hobby. After the initial expense of finding and acquiring a 60ft ocean racing yacht, there is the legal, financial, administrative, marketing, sponsorship, and communication costs as well as HR employment and technical upkeep of the boat. Every race event builds Ollie’s sailing experience and confidence, but it also adds wear and tear to the boat, adding layers of expense on a regular basis. 

Ollie’s tactical decision-making on the water, must balance his desire to win with the need to preserve the boat and minimise damage ahead of the 2024 race.  

Securing an entry is a huge milestone, but the pressure is still on. So far, 43 skippers have been awarded an official entry for just 40 race places. This allows for some boats to pull out, but if none do, then only the skippers with the highest qualifying mileage will be able to take their place on the start line. 


Theresa Heer Operations Director adds: 

“We are so proud of Ollie and the team and are extremely grateful for the generous support of our Swiss partners so far. We are doing all we can to make this a successful and sustainable campaign with the resources we have available to us. We are now earnestly seeking a Title Partner who can help us get to the start and over the finish line of the 2024 Vendee Globe and #JoinUsOnOurJourney.” 


The team is very keen to speak to Swiss and or global companies who are looking for a bespoke partnership to promote their brand and support our sailing campaign. Please contact if this is of interest. 

Just getting to the start line will be a tremendous achievement. But the small but mighty Oliver Heer Ocean Racing team have the determination and belief that they can exceed all expectations.  


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