Maine Yacht Center completed a refit of the IMOCA Open 60 Great American IV (ex-Mirabaud), in which Rich Wilson will compete in the 2016-17 Vendée Globe, the toughest singlehanded sailing race in the world.

Wilson brought the exotic canting-keel race boat to MYC in Portland, Maine, in August 2013 after sailing it across the Atlantic Ocean from France, where he purchased it on behalf of his nonprofit educational foundation, Sites Alive. Designed by Owen Clarke Design of Great Britain, the boat was originally built and launched in 2006 in New Zealand for prominent French solo sailor Dominique Wavre, who sailed the boat in such prestigious events as the Vendée Globe and the Barcelona World Race.

To prepare Great American IV for Wilson’s newest sailing adventure, MYC performed the following work:

  • rig modifications and inspection
  • removal of canting keel
  • inspection of keel pivot bearings, keel hydraulics and service
  • removal of twin asymmetric dagger boards and replacement of bearings
  • removal of rudders and bearing service
  • deck hardware modification; construction of an ergonomic chart table, bench seat and custom chair
  • new electronics and wiring including sailing instrumentation, satellite communication and computers
  • new Lithium Ion battery bank
  • new charging system to include custom direct drive engine alternator/regulator, hydro-generators and solar
  • new stanchions, bow pulpit and pushpits for higher life line configuration
  • new race bottom job

“It’s always a pleasure and privilege to work with Rich Wilson on any project,” said Harris after the current refit was completed. “He truly is like the Energizer Bunny, has great stamina, and brings intense focus and clarity to anything he puts his mind to.   

MYC has done a marvelous job on a complex and sophisticated refit, and all with diligence and good humor. For a race boat it's a great place to go,” said Rich Wilson. “Brian Harris is the only one in the U.S. who has dealt with Open 60s that race solo around the world. He's worked on boats for four such races, including ours in 2008-9, where we finished 9th of 11 finishers of 30 starters. There was a tremendous amount of attrition in that fleet, but the boat prepared by Maine Yacht Center came home safely. That's why we've come back to Brian and Maine Yacht Center for our 2016 Vendée Globe attempt.”

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About Rich Wilson:

Rich first came to the notice of the sailing world in 1980 when he skippered a heavy Aage Nielsen ketch, Holger Danske, to a spectacular overall win in the 1980 Newport-Bermuda Race. Since 1990 he has used ocean sailing to create multi-disciplinary interactive educational programs and set several world speed records aboard trimarans while doing so. Rich became only the second American ever to complete the Vendée Globe during the 2008-09 running of the event, which he finished in 121 days, coming in 9th out of 11 finishers (out of a starting fleet of 30 boats). Rich, then 58, was the oldest competitor in the race. During his last Vendée Globe campaign, Rich’s non-profit Sites Alive Foundation reached a global audience of 7 million readers and 250,000 students. Schools in 37 countries expressed interest in publishing its educational programs.  Rich hopes to build on this success during his next big race and will also be creating programs for asthma patients (he has suffered from asthma since childhood) and senior citizens  (he will be 65 at the start of this race). For more information on Rich and Sites Alive visit www.sitesalive.com

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