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My New Year Resolutions for 2024

HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at Oliver Heer Ocean Racing! 

The start of a new year is always a great time to set goals and objectives for the coming year, and for me and the team 2024 is the big one, The Vendée Globe!  Like many of you, to be the best I can be in 2024 I have set myself some personal New Years Resolutions that I am happy to share with you: 

1. Look after myself 

2. Keep Active 

3. Focus on Mental Health 

4. Keep Sustainable 

5. Be more Organised 

6. Take time for family 

7. Sail the Vendee Globe 

1. Look after myself, what I put in my body and don’t forget to take my Vitamins. 

I like to eat healthily, well most of the time! Ok yes, I admit, there’s a good balance of Haribo in my diet, as I do have a sweet tooth, and the odd pint! But that just makes it even more important that I follow a healthy diet the majority of the time and get the perfect balance of micro nutrients. Thankfully my partner Burgerstein Vitamine, provide me with my own bespoke vitamin mix. This is calculated using the results on my health checkup results, which I complete every 3 months with Hirslanden and the Longevity Centre in Switzerland.  

2. Keep Active and Get fit(ter) 

Physical fitness and strength play an important role in my sailing success. When I'm pushing the IMOCA hard, sometimes it’s difficult to just stay on my feet and maintain balance whilst the boat is ploughing through the rough seas. I also move massive sails around the boat, some of which weigh up to 100kg. In 2023 I put a home gym into my house in France that I use every day before work, and I have a personal trainer, Dave Dolley. I promise this year that I’m going to stick to his plan and train as much as possible so that I can be at my physical peak ready for the  Vendée Globe start in November. 

3. Focus on Mental Health 

Mental health is hugely important. Especially when I am alone on single handed races, often hundreds of miles from land and any back up.  For the Vendée Globe I will be isolated for around three months in some of the world's most remote seas. But what I know is although I am ISOLATED – I am NOT ALONE. Having and keeping perspective is fundamental for any solo sailor, especially if things start to go wrong. It is vital for me to have the ability to control my mindset, stay positive and focused, and be able to think clearly and make good decisions.  I am very lucky to work with performance coach Dr Wolfgang Jenewein, who teaches me coping techniques and strategies that I use regularly. With three solo races ahead of me this year, I’ll need to make sure I continue to stay focused and work hard to develop these skills. 

4. Stay Sustainable and do more for climate change and the oceans 

My wife, the team and I already do what we can to live in a sustainable way. When travelling we stay in houses and cook rather than use hotels and restaurants. We make conscious choices to use less non-recyclables, and we consider our food sources carefully. We try to take ferries and trains, rather than flying or driving whenever we can, and this year I’m keen to cycle more. On the boat we use green materials and repurpose and give away what we don’t need. We aim to deliver a carbon neutral campaign and thanks to Climate Partner, whatever we can’t reduce as a team, we offset on projects around the world. 

I also want to continue to be involved in climate related projects like ocean data collection in conjunction with the Swiss Polar Institute, water sampling in conjunction with Ifremer or launching weather buoys with Meteo France. I see firsthand what is happening to our oceans and weather systems and am passionate about these projects and even though they can sometimes be a little bit of a distraction from the sailing, I think they are worthwhile, and I want to do what I can to contribute to global climate science. 

5. Be more organised and take care for my kit 

Henri Lloyd is my Extreme Offshore clothing provider and this year they have made me a bespoke dry suite for the Vendée Globe. I will start to use the suit this spring and because the sailing kit is very technical, looking after it properly definitely prolongs its life, meaning better protection for longer as well as less waste and fewer items ending up in landfill. Henri Lloyd also offer and promote a recycling service on their website.  

I do try to look after my sailing kit but am often so busy at the end of a race that the team is a huge driving force – checking that it is not damaged, I am storing it properly, rinsing the sea-water off with fresh water and using the recommended care products.  This year, I promise I’m going to be more dedicated and organised, when caring for my Henri-Lloyd offshore kit. I have many miles to sail and need my lovely kit to last! 

6. Take time for me and my family 

I grew up learning to sail with my Dad on the Lake of Zurich, and I met my wife sailing in the Solent in the UK. The last few years on the IMOCA have all been about training and racing, and have taken me away from family and friends and so in 2024, before I sail away I need to make sure I spend time sailing with my friends & family. I am lucky that my local yacht club, the Yacht Club Rapperswil always welcomes me with open arms. My brother has a Diem 24 that is great fun to sail on and our partners and friends at Portier Yachts, Switzerland’s premier boat yard, are always on the lake sailing, so I have no excuse not to get out on the water with my friends and family just for pleasure and take time for me. 

7. Sail the Vendee Globe 

2024 is finally the year I will participate in my first Vendée Globe, and it has been a massive learning curve and a challenging journey thus far. But as I have said from the start, if it was easy, everyone would do it. I must remember that in November, I am just 1 of 40 people in the entire world who will be at the start line of the Vendée Globe Race in Les Sables. This is my dream, and I am going to do everything in my power to do it.  

We have a long way to go and still require additional financial support to get me to the start line, but we are focused and have a group of amazing people who are supporting this journey, the campaign and my dream.  

I want to say Happy New Year and a huge thank you to Airmarker, B&G, Burgerstein Vitamine, Climate Partner, Henri Lloyd, HQAM, Jenewein, Longevity Centre, MLL, Ocean Safety, Portier Yachts, Segle Schule Lagoo, Swiss Polar Institute, Sterki and FTP and everyone who supports me through Club 100 and all the amazing friends, family and partners who are making my journey possible. 


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