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Round-the-world hero heads for Jumeirah Regatta

Round-the-world hero heads for Jumeirah Regatta

11.02.2008: Round-the-world hero heads for Jumeirah Regatta

Conrad Humphreys eager to check out Dubai’s world-class sailing reputation

Top British round-the-world yachtsman Conrad Humphreys can’t wait to check out Dubai’s growing reputation as a world-class sailing venue during next weekend’s Jumeirah Regatta.

Humphreys, known as one of the most courageous figures in the world of extreme ocean racing, has happily accepted an invitation from the Jumeirah Group, the dynamic and fast growing Dubai based luxury hotel management company, to be guest of honour at the two-day event next Friday and Saturday.

He will be lending his expertise to the organisers to help set the two regatta courses,  one of which is being set off Dubai Offshore Sailing Club for the cruisers and dinghies and the other off Mina Seyahi Sailing Club for the catamarans.

And the three-times round-the-World Yachtsman, who has also built an international reputation as a motivational speaker in recent years, will be addressing what is expected to be a record entry of competitors during the prize giving dinner at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel next Saturday evening.

Looking forward to his first visit to Dubai, Humphreys, speaking from his home in Plymouth, England, said: "I’ve heard so much about Dubai. It’s been getting a lot of attention over the last few years and there’s an awful lot of sailing activity in the region as a whole, particularly Dubai."

"I started my sailing career in optimists and cadets, the sort of boats that there’ll be plenty of in the Jumeirah Regatta, and I’m looking forward to the weekend."

Humphreys will discover that the Jumeirah Regatta is now well established as one of the leading events on the UAE sailing calendar, and that plans are in place to make it a regatta with a big international flavour in the years ahead.

"We’re confident that the regatta will go from strength to strength, and we’re delighted that an international figure like Conrad Humphreys is joining us this year," said Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman for the Jumeirah Group and a keen member of Mina Seyahi Sailing Club which will also be strongly represented at the event.

Humphreys' professional sailing career began when he was spotted as a 17-year-old at the Junior World Cadet Championships and was asked to join the Youth Challenge campaign for the 1993-4 Whitbread Round the World Race, now the Volvo Ocean Race.

His first leadership challenge was as skipper of LG Flatron, which dominated the gruelling BT Global Challenge in 2000-01, and at 26 he became the youngest winning skipper in the history of the race.

For his third circumnavigation he took on the Everest of ocean racing, the non-stop, solo round-the-world Vendée Globe, regarded as the pinnacle of ocean racing and widely regarded as the toughest endurance race in sport. In his Open 60, Hellomoto, he set out from Les Sables D'Olonne, France in November 2004 along with 19 other competitors, and after 25 days at sea was lying 7th.

Then, just about to enter the cold, desolate waters of the Southern Ocean, he hit a submerged object at speed. Flung across the cabin, his first thoughts where that he was sinking. Hellomoto withstood the impact, but a rudder did not.

His race looked to be over as he limped towards Cape Town. No-one had ever successfully changed a rudder at sea without assistance and gone on to complete the race. Arriving in Cape Town and anchoring off a small bay, he set about changing the broken rudder. Diving repeatedly under the hull in the full glare of the world's media, he managed to replace the rudder and rejoin the race.

At that point he was in last place, nearly 4,000 miles behind the leaders, but in one of the most amazing comebacks in the history of the race he reached the finish in 7th place after 104 days at sea to a hero's welcome.

 

- Tony Lewis, Total Communications Dubai, also photo -

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/dubai-jumeirah-regatta-conrad-humphreys-sailing-hero-yachtsman-beach-hotel---32859.html

11.02.2008 / MaP

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