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New York Vendée - Ollie finishes with grit and determination

An unpredictable New York Vendée has come to a close, with Ollie crossing the finish line in 24th place after 15 days, 1 minute and 2 seconds on 14 June at 8:02pm. This wasn't the fast, downwind dash the race the New York Vendee promised – but it was a true test of strategy and resilience.

Squalls and Storms

The first half of the race was a masterclass in adapting to chaos. A vicious squall on day three, resulted in an unexpected gybe, shattered Ollie's mainsail battens, forcing him to make repairs through the night. The fix, whilst resourceful, was only partially successful. Limited to just two-thirds of his mainsail, combined with the missing sails from the Transat CIC, Ollie's race for a top spot was effectively over.

"Finishing the race became the priority," he explains, "to secure the crucial Vendée Globe qualifying miles." And finish he did!

Windholes and Woes

The second half of the race posed a fresh challenge with the appearance of stubborn windholes. The 28 IMOCA skippers became focussed on route optimisation, resulting in the fleet splitting into two distinct groups.


The foiling boats blazed a path to the south, while Ollie and the daggerboards stayed closer to the rhumb line.

Even the most sophisticated routing software struggled with the ever-changing weather conditions. Routing suggestions wavered, causing confusion and a mid-race reshuffle as skippers chased elusive pockets of breeze. By day eight, when many expected the race to finish, most skippers and boats were barely halfway.

Second Start and a Strong Finish  

Finally, new wind filled in from behind. Frustratingly for Ollie, it benefited the boats behind him first, allowing them to catch him up, and compressing the pack. After 13 days of racing covering 3,000nm, there were 10 boats almost neck-and-neck; lined up on a north-south axis within just 10 miles of each other, racing for the finish in fresh breeze, practically creating a second race start.

Reflections and the road ahead.

Ollie remains undeterred in his goal to be the first Swiss German to participate in the Vendée Globe. Whilst languishing in a windholes, he reflected on the constant equipment challenges he has faced throughout his campaign;

"Solo sailing demands reliability," he says. "Back-up systems aren't about specialist skills or knowledge, they're about creating redundancy which is critical for success. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost and compared to other teams, we're operating on a shoestring budget."

Despite the lack of a title sponsor, Ollie is grateful for the support the team receives. He recognises the importance of partnerships, not just for boat upgrades, but also for brand recognition. "Sailing with blank black sails is a reminder of that," he admits.

Whilst the other skippers are planning a well-deserved break, Ollie will dedicate himself to finding the right partner to elevate his campaign ahead of the Vendée Globe start in November.

As a pioneer aiming to be the first Swiss-German Vendée Globe competitor, Ollie embraces the challenges, adding:

“I never expected this to be easy, but I never expected the monumental challenges we as a team have had to face. As least we know that as a team, whilst we lack funds, we don’t lack resilience, motivation and determination!”

With all selection races now complete, Ollie anxiously awaits confirmation from the Vendée Globe organisers that his place on the starting line of this ultimate solo sailing adventure has been secured.

The story is to be continued!



Jun 15

Congratulations on completing this race, hope you have more luck in your future races.


Jun 14

Ollie, great finish of another difficult race. Congrats, I keep my fingers crossed that you will get the confirmation to compete in the Vendée! Sam.

Jun 17
Replying to

Thanks Sam.

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