Oliver Heer is a young and ambitious Swiss sailor who has worked his way up from youth dinghies to corporate sailing to professional offshore racing skipper through a combination of hard work and sailing talent.
Ollie grew up in Switzerland at the Lake of Zurich where he was taught to sail by his father, a keen amateur. At a young age he started to compete on a national level, racing in international dinghy regattas across Europe.
Aged 23, Ollie became involved in offshore racing whilst studying in Taiwan. He was soon invited to helm a TP52 and later that season won the King’s Cup in Thailand.
Following the untimely death of his father in 2014, aged just 53, Ollie decided that a traditional corporate career wasn’t for him, and moved to the UK to get a foothold in the sailing industry. He started to skipper regularly in local regattas and RORC races and won several events with amateur sailing crew on board.
In 2014, Ollie became boat captain on several 40-60ft yachts, competing at events in the UK, Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
In 2018, he joined Alex Thomson onboard the IMOCA 60 HUGO BOSS, and was promoted to Boat Captain soon after. Together the pair sailed over 40,000 miles and in 2021, Alex and Ollie co-skippered the Rolex Fastnet Race which was also Ollie’s debut in the IMOCA Globe Series.
Competing in the Vendée Globe has been Ollie’s ambition since he was a child. And suddenly it became a natural next step.
In 2022, Ollie acquired his own Farr-designed IMOCA 60 ‘Gitana 80’ and his campaign to be the first Swiss-German to complete in – and ultimately win – the Vendee Globe began.
The campaign started well with Ollie and team securing the honour of fastest non-foiling IMOCA in the Defi Azimut Speed Runs. Despite a collision just after the start in the Route Du Rhum, Ollie completed the race, gaining valuable qualification miles.
In 2023, he finished the Rolex Fastnet Race in under 2 days 17 hours as third fastest non-foiling IMOCA. Ollie will now co-skipper with Swiss sailor Nils Palmieri for the Defi Azimut and Transat Jacques Vabres.
Sustainability is a key part of the Oliver Heer Ocean Racing campaign, and the team operate on a carbon neutral basis, also carrying marine sensors to measure global sea conditions, and contribute to climate science.
Ollie continues to demonstrate resilience and a determination to succeed in the IMOCA circuit.
2023: 3rd FASTEST non-foiling IMOCA in Rolex Fastnet Race
2022: Route Du Rhum solo FINISHER
FASTEST non-foiling IMOCA in Le Défi Azimut Speed runs
2021: CO-SKIPPER of Hugo Boss in the Rolex Fastnet Race with Alex Thomson
2018: OVERALL WINNER of the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland race