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Brad Van Liew is a premier offshore sailor specializing in extreme performance events. He has competed in some of the world's toughest offshore ocean races. He is renowned[peacock term] for his single-handed sailing skills and experience. As a racing veteran he has completed both the 1998/99 Around Alone event (third place Open 50 Class) and 2002/03 (first place Open 50 Class). Van Liew has been recognized by several organizations[which?] for his sportsmanship, seamanship, communications and competitiveness.
In 2010 Van Liew returned to the VELUX 5 Oceans Race (previously Around Alone and the BOC Challenge), in the new Eco 60 Class. Brad’s sailing resume includes everything from Newport to Bermuda races at the young age of twelve to Open-60 regattas.
He studied real estate development at USC but when that turned out not to be enough fun, he founded an airplane charter company. When he and wife Meaghan bought their first boat together, it brought back all his earlier hopes of competing in the BOC Challenge. So they bought a racing boat that became Balance Bar for the 1998/99 Around Alone. In the 2003/04 Around Alone with the support of title sponsor Tommy Hilfiger, Brad won every leg of the race in Class two. After competing in the Around Alone 2003/04 Van Liew retired from competitive sailing.
During his eight-year absence, he was the Executive Director of the South Carolina Maritime Foundation. Under his leadership the Foundation completed building a new tall ship called the Spirit of South Carolina and initiated the youth education and sailing history program the Foundation runs.
After eight years away from competitive solo sailing, Brad purchased a boat, Le Pingouin, in France with a distinguished racing history and completely refitted her to an Eco 60 vessel. It underwent a makeover that included new B&G electronics, Samson ropes, support and equipment from sponsors Ondeck, Gill, Simrad, Harken, West Marine, AlpineAire, and Awlgrip. Brad is using hydrogenerators that allow him to race using little fossil fuels. In fact, the Velux 5 Oceans race is a test bed for this hydrogenerator technology.
American ocean racer Brad Van Liew sailed over the finish line of the VELUX 5 Oceans Race on May 27, 2011 and into the record books by winning every leg of the 30,000-mile challenge for the second time in his solo sailing career. He is the only sailor in the 29-year history of the race (aka the BOC Challenge, the Around Alone, and VELUX 5 OCEANS) to have taken clean sweeps in two races (having also won each leg of the 2002/3 edition in class two). Van Liew is the second American to race solo around the world three times. By completing his third circumnavigation, Liew joined his friend and mentor, Mike Plant as the second American to complete three, single-handed circumnavigations.Plant raced in the 1986/87 VELUX 5 Oceans Race (then known as the BOC Challenge) followed by the inaugural Vendée Globe in 1989 and another BOC Challenge in 1990/91. In 1992, Plant was preparing to compete in his second Vendée Globe and fourth single-handed circumnavigation aboard Coyote, a powerful Open 60sloop, and was lost at sea while delivering Coyote from New York Harbor to Les Sables-d'Olonne, France for the starting line. When asked about the record he set and his mentor Plant, he said, "Until now Mike Plant was the definitive American solo sailor. A good friend of mine who also knew Mike asked me what it feels like to have achieved what he was trying to achieve when he died. Well, it's a big deal to me. This win won't mean a whole lot to a whole lot of people but it means one hell of a lot to me and a few others. It is something that I have done and can take to the grave that no-one can deny. That's why people climb mountains, sail solo round the world or even go to the moon. It's one of those kinds of moments."
As the sun set over the French port of La Rochelle, where the 2010/2011 running of the VELUX 5 OCEANS began in October, the lone mast of Brad's Eco 60 Le Pingouin came into view blasting along under full main and foresail. A small fleet of spectator boats was waiting on the finish line as Brad cruised in at 2053 local time (1853UTC). Among the well-wishers were his wife Meaghan and his mother Marcia, as well as French solo sailing legend Catherine Chabaudfr:Catherine Chabaud, the first owner of Le Pingouin—formerly known as Whirlpool, Tiscali, and Pro Form. Van Liew renamed the boat Le Pingouin in homage to the name Chabaud registered her as when she was built in 1998. It is the second time the yacht has successfully made it round the world.
Van Liew stamped his dominance on the race leading the fleet into the Atlantic toward Cape Town South Africa on the first leg. He proceeded to win each of the five legs. Despite his experience it was no easy feat. "It's just been a really fantastic event," Brad added. "You've got to live life large and for me this event is who I am. It feels amazing to have won this race, and even better that it's my second one. To sweep it twice is kind of unheard of, so I'm pretty happy! I've met every objective I set myself and then some."
In the final sprint Brad sailed 3,809 miles from his hometown of Charleston in South Carolina to La Rochelle in 12 days, 23 hours and 52 minutes at an average speed of 12.21 knots. Over the entire race Brad sailed 31,924 miles.
2012 Van Liew Joins Soldini/Maserati Crew for Records Attempts
Giovanni Soldini it:Giovanni Soldini and Maserati prepare for attempt at Cadiz to San Salvador speed record. A professional 8-man crew, including American Brad Van Liew, challenges the Atlantic Ocean: The Soldini crew on a 70-foot racing yacht optimized for extreme speed are attempting a new North Atlantic speed record. Starting in February 2012, a crew of eight led by Soldini are engaged in seeking to become the new record holder between Cadiz (Spain) and San Salvador (Bahamas) on board Maserati—namesake of the famous auto maker. Backing for this challenge is provided by Maserati, the main partner in the endeavor, which gave its name to the boat. It is flanked by the Swiss bank BSI (Generali Group), and by Generali, which are co-sponsors. The collection of globetrotting extreme sailors on Maserati collectively have more than one million miles of experience offshore.
In addition to skipper Soldini, Maserati is crewed by seven capable yachtsmen with past track records in open ocean-going regattas and in competitions such as the America's Cup. German Boris Herrmann (navigator), American Brad Van Liew (watch leader) and Spaniard David Vera (watch leader) will make up a team completed by four Italians: Gabriele Olivo (trimmer), Guido Broggi (boat captain), Gerardo Siciliano (second bowman), and Corrado Rossignoli (first bowman).
The record for Cadiz-San Salvador run, 3884 miles long, is monitored by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, the international body that gives official status to the fastest sailing times along the historical routes once plied by clippers. In the past the record was set only by maxi trimarans. Maserati will attempt to be the first to establish the record for the monohull category. Two additional North Atlantic records that Soldini and crew will attempt to break in 2012 aboard Maserati include Miami-New York and New York-Lizard Point (UK). "The challenge is a demanding one, given the length and the difficulty of the route," explains Soldini. "During the first part our concerns will be with the area of high pressure blocking our path near the Azores. During the second part the difficulties will be posed by fronts and depressions which, if too low, will slow the boat down. At the same time it's great to have a chance like this and I am delighted with the entire crew."
American Brad Van Liew and Soldini have a notable history together, having both competed in the Around Alone race of 1998-99, when extreme weather in the Southern Ocean forced Soldini to the rescue of a capsized fellow competitor (Isabelle Autissier)Isabelle Autissier and Van Liew to a dismasting. Maserati crossed the finish line at San Salvador at h 10 59' 10 GMT. Soldini and his team established an excellent time reference for the Cadiz-San Salvador record. Maserati and its crew took 10 days, 23 hours, 9 minutes and 2 seconds to travel the 3884 miles of the orthodromic route which links Cadiz to San Salvador, thus establishing an excellent time reference - the first - for the monohull category. Having set sail from Cadiz on 2 February at h 11 50' 08 GMT, they traveled 4632 real miles at an average speed of 17.6 knots.
The Maserati yacht was completely overhauled in Charleston. The canting keel, which stopped moving a few miles away from the finish line in San Salvador, was fixed. On March 7, 2012, Maserati and crew left to tackle the impressive 24-hour monohull record. they are attempting to beat the record held by the VOR 70 Ericsson 4 for monohulls where Ericsson 4 sailed 596.6 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 24.85 knots. Unfortunately, on March 8 the attempt had to be aborted when sailing toward Cape Hatteras Maserati's windward rudder was seriously damaged after hitting a chunk of wood in the Atlantic. The crew returned to Charleston where Maserati's rudder is being replaced.On March 22, 2012, Maserati set sail from Miami, Florida, to establish the official monohull sailing record from Miami to New York City.