James Harayda

Growing up in Singapore, James found it easy to fall in love with the sea. He spent his weekends exploring and racing around the tropical island in various dinghies and keelboats. Fast forward a few years and James decided to compete in many of the world's major offshore races. In the process, he has become a two-time British Double Handed National Champion with teammate Dee Caffari.

"The Vendée Globe has always been the pinnacle of ocean racing, just finishing this race is an incredible feat, winning it is simply heroic. There is also so much more to this event than the race itself. The journey to the start line is considered one of the hardest parts of the race - the funding required, the racing schedule, the preparation needed, the technical know - how, and just the sheer scale of the project is unbelievable and cannot be underestimated. For me, this race is about achieving something that very few people have ever done. It is also about using this platform to show the world that being sustainable, in every sense of the word, does not come at a cost to performance.Our aim as a team is to build our skills, knowledge, and partnerships through until 2024 with the aim of being as competitive as possible in the 2028 Vendée Globe.”

In addition to the Vendée Globe campaign, Gentoo Sailing Team has this year launched its Youth Development Programme, with Caffari as the Trustee, and backed by the Ian Atkins Keelboat Award (IAKA). The programme has selected 10 male and 10 female sailors, aged 16 - 23, and from all different backgrounds to race on its youth boat in the UK JOG and RORC offshore racing season.

The programme's aim is to offer a clear, achievable, and timebound pathway for the young sailors involved. All the sailors have different goals within the sport and Gentoo Sailing Team is working with each of the young sailors in order to open as many relevant doors as possible to help them realise these ambitions. The sailors will benefit from mentoring, on and off-the- water coaching, technical workshops, and offshore racing. The sailors will also gain skills in teamwork, communication, and leadership and play a role in the team’s
wider sustainability projects.

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