Vendee2020Vision, the initiative to aid up-and-coming British talent to compete in the next Vendée Globe, is pleased to welcome UKCloud onboard as a partner to the project.

UKCloud provides assured public cloud services for the exclusive use of UK public sector organisations. The company, which was recently lauded the fastest-growing private company in the UK in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100, will be joining the team for the remainder of the 2017 sailing season including Cowes Week, the Fastnet Race and other UK based events.

UKCloud CEO Simon Hansford comments: “This is a technologically innovative sport that sits well with UKCloud’s core competencies and commitments. Our vision is to be the power behind public sector technology, and we are proud to be at the forefront of digital innovation and transformation. Vendee2020Vision will be an exciting partnership for us.”

Vendee2020Vision’s existing partner Artemis Investment Management LLP has been at the forefront of British offshore sailing for the last decade, “It is fantastic to welcome a new partner to Vendee2020Vision, our long term investment to develop a British skipper capable of winning the Vendée Globe continues and it is great to welcome such an innovative British company to the project”.

Established in 2016, Vendée2020Vision continues the journey embarked on by Artemis Investment Management LLP to evaluate and coach a squad of Britain’s top solo sailors, with the ultimate goal to find a skipper with the potential to win the world’s toughest single-handed race, The Vendée Globe.

Starting with a group of ten sailors, over the last 18 months the field has been narrowed to just four candidates; Sam Goodchild, Lizzie Foreman, Andrew Baker and Will Harris. The team’s next scheduled race will be The Rolex Fastnet starting on Saturday, 6th August.




PRESS RELEASE – 23 February 2017

Six best solo sailors selected

VendeeWhile in Les Sables d’Olonne competitors continue to stream across the finish line of the Vendée Globe after three and a half months at sea, in Southampton work continues to train up British sailing talent to give them the best chance of competing in the Vendée Globe in four year’s time.

In its first year, Vendée2020Vision helped with the coaching and development of a 10-strong squad of Britain’s top aspirant solo skippers. For 2017, this field has been narrowed to six and will be pared down further towards the end of this season when the intention is for the two top contenders to take part in November’s Transat Jacques Vabre doublehanded transatlantic race.

Whitecap, the Southampton-based company which runs Vendée2020Vision, has now confirmed the 2017 squad: Sam Matson, Will Harris, Sam Goodchild, Andrew Baker, Lizzy Foreman and Henry Bomby (see http://whitecapltd.com/vendee-2020/candidates/for more information about the individual sailors)

Vendee 2020 Vision promotional video
Vendee2020Vision: The official promo
In 2017 the selected top six will once again undertake coaching both on and off the water.

While the sailors are experienced in smaller boats, such as the 32ft Figaro Beneteau II and 21ft Mini, with Vendée2020Vision they are provided with the opportunity to train on board a substantially larger IMOCA 60, of the type raced in the Vendée Globe. On board the Artemis Ocean Racing IMOCA 60 the sailors are shown the ropes by Vendée2020Vision’s head coach, former Vendée Globe competitor and record-breaking round the world yachtswoman, Dee Caffari.

You may be the best sailor in the world, but that means nothing unless you can get to the start line. Therefore it is vital for Vendée Globe competitors is to have the skills needed to raise sponsorship and funding not just to purchase a boat but to run the campaign too. A team expecting to have race winning potential will require a budget of several million pounds. To help them secure these funds, Vendée2020Vision sailors are provided with commercial support covering networking and pitch development together with other vital boardroom and business tuition. They then get to try out their pitches ‘for real’ to executives from companies such as Harrods and accountants Grant Thornton.

Sam Matson, who was sponsored last season by British footwear manufacturer Chatham, describes the importance of this training: “I’ve been out on the water for as long as I can remember, but now I’m standing up in boardrooms, trying to justify an investment for what is effectively a global marketing campaign.”

Andrew Baker tests his pitching skills. Photo: Vendee2020Vision (Click on image to enlarge it)

This year Vendée2020Vision sailors will receive additional coaching and assessments.

Commercial support is being enhanced by the sailors being provided with the opportunity to pitch to yet more companies. These will include Harrington Starr, the London-based financial services and commodities technology recruitment company and the US corporate giant Procter & Gamble. Executives from these companies will subsequently provide feedback on each sailor’s pitch and delivery.

Good fitness is essential for singlehanded offshore racing, so the six Vendée2020Vision sailors will undergo physical assessments with the aim of reaching defined fitness targets. This is part of a special program devised for racing sailors by Chris Szedlak, Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Southampton. Szedlak has already worked with many of the Vendée2020Vision squad when they were with the Artemis Offshore Academy.

Sam Matson learns the ropes on the Vendee2020Vision training boat, Artemis Ocean Racing (Click on image to enlarge it)

To improve their prospects out on the water, leading international navigator Wouter Verbraak will be running a course for the Vendée2020Vision sailors on ‘meteorology and strategy’. A sought-after navigator, Verbraak has previously trained the all-women’s crew on Team SCA in the last Volvo Ocean Race and worked on pre-race navigation for Alex Thomson’s most recent Vendée Globe campaign.

To help the sailors optimise their chances of obtaining column inches and airtime, they are receiving media training from radio and TV broadcaster Alec Wilkinson.

This season’s first week of training took place earlier this month and culminated in the sailors and Vendée2020Vision being featured on the BBC’s South Today program:

Vendee 2020 Vision BBC South Today
Vendee2020Vision on BBC South Today
Aiming to build on the recent success of Alex Thomson’s IMOCA 60 campaign, sponsored for the last 14 years by Hugo Boss, Whitecap and the Vendée2020Vision sailors are continuing to seek funds to help them get to the start of the next Vendée Globe as well as to continue the vital training provided by Vendée2020Vision.This comes at a vital time: In the 2008-9 Vendée Globe there were seven British entries, while for 2016-17 there was just one. Simon Clay, CEO of Whitecap maintains that now is the moment to reverse this trend and for companies to step up and put Britain back on the map of singlehanded round the world racing, a sport that originated in the UK and created legends such as Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Dame Ellen Macarthur.

With significant backing from Land Rover, Ben Ainslie Racing is making Britain’s strongest ever challenge to win the America’s Cup. The corporate world also has the chance to put their muscle behind the first ever British winner of another of sailing’s pinnacle events, the Vendée Globe. “We have some fantastic British talent, but we need to partner them and provide commercial return to companies so that it is attractive for them to come in and support our British sailing stars,” concludes Clay.

Members of the press wishing to talk to Simon Clay or any of the Vendée2020Vision sailors can do so by contacting Simon Clay at vendee2020@whitecapltd.com

For more information on Whitecap, visit their website


PRESS RELEASE – 18 January 2017

Vendée2020Vision sailors inspired by Alex Thomson’s performance

Regardless of the outcome of the Vendée Globe, which is due to conclude in Les Sables d’Olonne tomorrow (Thursday, 19th January), Alex Thomson will have put in the best British performance in a non-stop round the world race since Robin Knox-Johnson won the first ever event of this kind, the Sunday Times Golden Globe, back in 1969.

Participants in Vendee2020Vision, the initiative to aid up-and-coming British talent in getting to the start line of the next singlehanded round the world race, congratulate Alex on his exceptional performance.

Prior to this Vendée Globe Dame Ellen MacArthur finished second to Michel Desjoyeaux in the 2000-1 Vendée Globe; while Mike Golding came home third in 2004-5, as did Thomson in 2012-3. Never before has a British skipper led the race for two weeks. While all seemed lost as Thomson’s all-black Hugo Boss rounded Cape Horn more than 700 miles behind leader Armel le Cleac’h on Banque Populaire, the three and a half week long slog back up the North Atlantic since then has turned into a battle royal between the French and English boats and Thomson has come repeatedly within a whisker of overtaking his opponent.

With the outcome set to pan out tomorrow, attention will soon turn to British prospects in the next Vendée Globe in four years’ time.

Thomson’s performance has been an inspiration to the next generation of up-and-coming British singlehanded offshore sailors such as Andrew Baker, Conrad Manning, Henry Bomby, Jack Bouttell, Lizzy Foreman, Nikki Curwen, Robin Elsey, Sam Goodchild, Sam Matson and Will Harris. Most have already developed their competitive shorthanded offshore racing skill sets to a high degree aboard 32ft Beneteau Figaro 2s thanks to the Artemis Offshore Academy.

During 2016 this group all participated in a program called Vendée2020Vision, run by Whitecap Ltd in Southampton, that intends to build upon the training provided by the Academy. The aim of Vendée2020Vision is to help progress these sailors up to the next rung of the ladder: Creating their own IMOCA 60 programs that will enable them to participate in, and ultimately to win, the Vendée Globe.

Vendée2020Vision training has been on the water on board the Artemis Ocean Racing IMOCA 60 yacht under the tutelage of former Vendée Globe competitor and record-breaking round the world yachtswoman Dee C
affari. But of equal importance – and the stumbling block for most British potential Vendée Globe competitors – has been developing their skill sets off the water and, in particular, their ability to raise the vital financial backing necessary to get their campaigns off the ground.

To help them with their fund raising, Vendée2020Vision sailors last year had the opportunity to take part in 12 bespoke training modules, which included networking and pitch development coaching. The sailors then had the opportunity to prepare themselves for boardroom scrutiny by testing their pitches in a Dragon’s Den-style ‘real’ environment, presenting to executives from Harrods and clients from accountants Grant Thornton, who then provided their feedback.

It is hoped that Alex Thomson’s success, following 14 years of continuous support from his sponsor Hugo Boss, will act as a good case study and will help ease the purse strings of corporate Britain to enable the next generation to become the sailing heroes of tomorrow.

Will Harris, who won the rookie prize in the 2016 Solitaire du Figaro, commented: “It is truly inspiring to see Alex giving all he has got to take the Vendée lead. He is putting British solo ocean racing back on the map and doing something I hope will encourage a growth of British solo sailing.”

Sam Matson added: “Alex’s new 24 hour record is proof that he’s not giving up until the end. He has a difficult couple of days ahead with the weather, but either way he has nothing to lose. He has created an incredible story by leading the pack and being in the top two nearly the entire way round, which has no doubt raised the profile of the Vendée Globe in the UK. I hope his result will create a legacy from which I can act on in order to find the commercial partnerships required to have race winning potential in the next Vendee Globe.”

Simon Clay, CEO of Whitecap feels that Thomson and Hugo Boss’ performance should help their cause: “What Alex is achieving in this Vendée Globe is remarkable and the result of an extraordinary effort by him and his team with the support of his long term sponsor, Hugo Boss. In this edition of the Vendée Globe he is setting the benchmark in solo ocean racing and sailing sponsorship. I and the Vendee2020Vision team are working hard to ensure that his success results in continued success by British competitors in the next edition of this remarkable race in 2020. We have the talent and we remain resolute in our search for a commercial partner.”

Members of the press wishing to talk to Simon Clay or any of the Vendée2020Vision sailors can do so by contacting Simon Clay at vendee2020@whitecapltd.com

For more information on Whitecap, visit their website

Vendee Globe 2016 promo video

PRESS RELEASE – 6 January 2017


New initiative to nurture a British Vendée Globe winner

Launched in 2016, Vendée2020Vision is a new initiative to support British sailors along the path to success in yacht racing’s most challenging event – the Vendée Globe, the quadrennial singlehanded non-stop round the world race.

Singlehanded offshore racing is an endurance sport that for participants is the toughest discipline in sailing. It has created many British legends from early pioneers such as Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Chay Blyth to contemporary figures such as Dame Ellen MacArthur, Pete Goss, Mike Golding, Sam Davies, Dee Caffari, Brian Thompson and Alex Thompson. It is a sport that was created in Britain, inspired by the early round the world record breakers and the establishment of events such as the OSTAR and the Mini Transat in the 1960s and 70s. But since then France has completely dominated the sport.

Currently the Vendée Globe is the pinnacle event in the solo offshore racing calendar. British solo sailors have competed in all but the first race in 1989-90, with Dame Ellen MacArthur holding the record for the best British result when she finished a close second in 2000-1. British entries in the race peaked in 2008-9 when seven skippers from the UK entered, but in the current race, which set sail from Les Sables d’Olonne in November, there is just one – Alex Thomson sailing Hugo Boss.

Created by Southampton-based yacht racing management company Whitecap and supported by Artemis Investment Management LLP, Vendée2020Vision is seeking to rejuvenate British participation in the solo non-stop round the world race. This it intends to do not only by helping aspiring British singlehanded offshore sailors fill in the gaps in their skill sets, both at sea and in raising funding on land, but also approaching the problem from the opposite angle: Encouraging corporate Britain to get behind its worthy initiative.

Simon Clay, CEO of Whitecap commented: “Through Vendee2020Vision, British singlehanded offshore sailing has a huge amount to offer a commercial partner. We are working with some exceptional youth talent, nurturing their potential with the belief that we can achieve the first British winner of a solo non-stop around the world race for over 50 years in 2020. We believe also that in this age of digital and social media we have an offering that competes favourably in the advertising and sponsorship marketplace. We have the ability to create compelling and authentic content portraying strong human and brand values in abundance.”

In its first year, Vendée2020Vision has provided training to aspirant competitors Andrew Baker, Conrad Manning, Henry Bomby, Jack Bouttell, Lizzy Foreman, Nikki Curwen, Robin Elsey, Sam Goodchild, Sam Matson and Will Harris, the majority graduates of the Artemis Offshore Academy.

Artemis Ocean Racing IMOCA 60. Photo: Mark Lloyd / www.lloydimages.com

On the water, these sailors have had the opportunity to train and compete on the Artemis Ocean Racing IMOCA 60 yacht, which British sailor Jonny Malbon raced in the 2008 Vendée Globe and which Whitecap has managed for the last 5 years. Whitecap has enlisted as Vendée2020Vision’s lead coach, Dee Caffari, the only woman to have sailed round the world singlehanded in both directions as well as being a past Vendée Globe and Volvo Ocean Race competitor.

Vendée2020Vision sailors have had the opportunity to participate on training days with Dee to learn the ropes on the Artemis Ocean Racing IMOCA 60 – a significant step-up from the 32ft long Beneteau Figaro 2s and 21ft Minis they have been used to. IMOCA 60s are custom boats (ie each is different), and are technically much more complex with canting keels, daggerboards, kick up rudders, intricate electronics, etc. Compared to Figaros, they are also giant boats: Almost twice as long, their mast twice as high, and with a sail area some five times larger – much closer to the limit of what a solo racing sailor can physically operate. As a result different techniques are required to sail them.

In 2016, Vendée2020Vision sailors competed on the IMOCA 60 in 3,000 miles of Royal Ocean Racing Club offshore events. This culminated in them winning the club’s Canting Keel Class trophy for the season.

The reason British competitor numbers in the Vendée Globe are dwindling is due to the sailors being unable to raise adequate backing and corporate Britain being unwilling to release its purse strings. Through its Vendée2020Vision initiative, Whitecap is working hard on both sides of this equation.

To improve their chances in the board room Vendée2020Vision sailors have had the opportunity to take part in 12 bespoke training modules that have included networking and pitch development coaching. The sailors have then had the opportunity to prepare themselves for boardroom scrutiny by testing their pitches. This they have done in a Dragon’s Den-style ‘real’ environment, presenting to executives from Harrods and clients from accountants Grant Thornton, who have then provided their feedback.

Vendée2020Vision provides commercial support to sailors giving them the best chance of raising funds for their own campaigns, with Whitecap able to offer the added benefit of being able to take potential sponsors sailing on an IMOCA 60.

In conjunction with this, Whitecap is undertaking its own independent sponsorship search, spelling out the benefits of backing Vendée Globe campaigns to companies both in the UK and abroad. With the aim of casting their net wide, they have been working with leading media agencies and running advertising campaigns to promote British participation in the Vendée Globe in the Financial Times, the Financial Technologist and Harrods media.

Throughout 2016, the Vendée2020Vision sailors have been scored by a team including Whitecap’s Commercial Manager Sean Woods and Sponsorship Manager Jess Dahlgren. Based on the outcome of the 2016 results, the sailors are being whittled down to six this year. Ultimately the top two will get the opportunity to compete aboard an IMOCA 60 in the Rolex Fastnet Race and subject to funding, the doublehanded transatlantic race, the Transat Jacques Vabre in autumn 2017.

Vendée2020Vision at London Boat Show

On Tuesday 10th January, Vendée2020Vision will be presented at London Boat Show, at the ExCel exhibition centre in London’s Docklands. This will take place on the London Stage, hosted by Sky presenter Alec Wilkinson in two sessions: At 1315, Alec will be talking to Dame Ellen MacArthur plus Will Harris and Sam Matson from Vendee 2020 Vision, while at 1500, he will talking to other Vendee 2020 Vision sailors.

Vendée2020Vision contact: Simon Clay at vendee2020@whitecapltd.com


Here are examples of our current advertising campaign, designed to generate interest in the campaign from potential partners.
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