Route du Rhum skipper: Pip Hare

As the 2022 Route du Rhum approaches, we take a look at some of the top names set to compete in the race. James Devoy looks at Pip Hare’s chances

Richard Langdon/Ocean Images /Pip Hare Ocean Racing

Pip Hare is a British professional sailor and has been for 25 years. Despite a long and distinguished career, Pip’s first foray into the exclusive world of solo sailing came only ten years ago, when she entered the OSTAR race from Plymouth UK to Newport, USA.

Following that race, Pip has worked her way through the ranks of solo and ocean racing, and has taken part in a large variety of events in almost all major solo classes, training, project managing, and fundraising for her own campaigns every step of the way.

The ultimate goal for any solo sailor is typically the Vendée Globe, solo non-stop around the world race, which departs every four years from Les Sables-d’Olonne. This race has been the stated goal for Pip Hare for many years and in 2020 she finally achieved her dream to make it to the Vendée Globe startline.

However, the route to the Vendée is a tough one and it was only the British sailor’s ample determination that got her there with a tiny budget and a support team made up of volunteers and friends.

In June 2020 Medallia joined Pip as title sponsor for the Vendée Globe campaign, allowing her to recruit a small team and prepare for the start in November 2020.

In her own words, Pip says she had to: “just make it happen, force a campaign into existence and not be fussy about what I had. I just wanted to experience the [Vendée Globe] and show potential sponsors that I was worth backing.”

No one was more surprised than Pip Hare when the CEO of software company, Medallia stepped in to sponsor her 2020 Vendée Globe campaign, months before the race start.

She admits she had been Googling ‘How do you go bankrupt’ just days before Leslie Stretch contacted her with his offer.

A keen solo sailor who keeps a Beneteau 41.1 in San Francisco Bay, Stretch said Hare‘s track record as ‘an intrepid offshore sailor’ meant sponsoring her campaign to race around the world in a 1999 vintage IMOCA 60 was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, and ‘it was an easy choice to sponsor her again in 2024.’

Hare sailed an impressive 2020-21 Vendée Globe, despite the age of he IMOCA 60 and more than proved she would be capable of much improved results with the right machinery underneath her.

Pip Hare now has a foiling IMOCA 60 having completed the 2020-21 Vendée Globe on a 1999 vintage boat.

IMOCA 60 Medallia

Sail number: GBR 77
Designer: VPLP – Verdier
Builder:: CDK Technologies, Port-La-Forêt
Year: 2015
LWL: 18,28 m
Beam: 5,80 m
Draught: 4,5 m
Displacement: 6,5 tonnes
Foils: Yes

Pip took ownership of her new IMOCA 60 in 2021 re-christening it Medallia after her sponsor, who has come onboard for a second Vendee Globe for the 2024-25 race.

The yacht comes with an impressive history. Launched in 2015 as Banque Populaire it was one of the first generation of yachts that were built specifically to foil. In 2016 it won the Vendée Globe setting a course record of 74 days with skipper Armel Le Cléac’h. A record it still holds.

In 2020, with skipper Louis Burton the then Bureau Vallee and the future Medallia placed an impressive 3rd at the Vendée despite having to stop and reattach a mast track.

Hare will take on the Route du Rhum for the first time in 2022 and will be hoping to show her potential in a new foiling IMOCA 60.

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