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Bon Voyage

Brad Van Liew's bright yellow Eco 60 vessel weighs just about eight and a half tons, and everything about it says "go fast," from its canting keel to the spearhead-shaped bow. Photograph by Jacques Vapillon

august 26, 2010

Bon Voyage
In a week, local sailor Brad Van Liew heads for the start of the Velux 5 Oceans around-alone race


Wyatt, Meaghan, Brad, and Tate Van Liew sit at the transom of Le Pengouin during pre-race preparations. Photograph by Kaitlyn Iserman

For the better part of a year, Mount Pleasant mariner Brad Van Liew will be the lone skipper on a rolling horizon of gray-green swells as far as the eye can see. He will fight doldrums and dodge icebergs. He will beat his brains out to windward, care for his vessel, exist on dehydrated food, and try to sleep despite being soaked to the core. He will make his way across the equator and back—all in an effort to win the world’s oldest and toughest solo round-the-globe yacht race. Again. And he heads for the starting line next week.

Be at the Seabreeze Marina on September 2 to wish captain and crew safe travels as they hit the seas aboard Le Pengouin, bound for La Rochelle, France, and the October 17 kickoff of the Velux 5 Oceans race. At this grand bon voyage celebration, the public can tour the refitted Eco 60 racing yacht that will carry Van Liew across five oceans. “This will not only be my home for nine months, but she’s my survival pod and my life raft. She’ll need to keep me safe for 30,000 miles of wild ocean sailing,” he says.

Partygoers will also have the chance to meet the team, get an autographed copy of the August 2010 issue of Charleston magazine featuring the Van Liews, purchase team gear, hear live music, and enjoy beverages and barbecue served up by Cap’n Ron’s. Don’t miss this opportunity to greet the only U.S. entry in this solo adventure, as he won’t be in town again until late April 2011, when racers arrive in Charleston for the final leg of their nautical voyage.

Seabreeze Marina, 50 Immigration St. Thursday, September 2, 6:30-9:30 p.m. $20, $10 teen, free for child under 13.

To read our August 2010 feature on the Van Liew family’s international undertaking, “Team Van Liew,” click here.

To purchase tickets, get additional information on the event, and learn about Brad Van Liew’s epic adventure, click here.


Thu, 08/26/2010